Wednesday, March 2, 2016

IWSG: Scars

Today is IWSG day, a monthly event Alex Cavanaugh started to get writers sharing about their insecurities and other stuff going on in their lives.

Today is one of those days where this Stephen King quote really speaks to me:

“Writers remember everything...especially the hurts. Strip a writer to the buff, point to the scars, and he'll tell you the story of each small one. From the big ones you get novels. A little talent is a nice thing to have if you want to be a writer, but the only real requirement is the ability to remember the story of every scar. Art consists of the persistence of memory.”  ----Stephen King, MISERY

Sometimes I wonder if the reason why my memory has been able to hold on to some negative experiences, even stuff that happened many many years ago,  is because I have the writerly ability being referred to...and not because I subconsciously enjoy being a grudge holder because on a conscious level, I often wish my memory could let some stuff go. I also wonder if there is any scientific study out there linking good authors to their ability to revisit scars.

Do you have scars? Would you like to share about one?

20 comments:

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I remember a lot of slights and things like that, too, ones I also wish I could let go. But I do think a lot of our past experiences shape our stories, if not the events themselves then the feelings we had at the time. Those we can definitely carry over into our stories and characters.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's why I wonder how I became an author. I've had a pretty good life with very few traumatic events. Probably why I can't write about the deep and dark stuff.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've used some of the trauma from my youth to add depth to my characters. I think it's kind of therapeutic to do so.

Pat Hatt said...

I remember everything that occurred, good, bad or otherwise. Just the way my brain works.

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

I did find hurts very difficult to forget for years--bad relationships, soured friendships, betrayals. And I do think some of it fueled my creativity. But since I've hit midlife, I suddenly find myself not caring anymore. I have dropped several grudges and injuries because they just don't hurt anymore. Is it because I wrote them out of my system, even if I didn't write about them directly? Or is it just because I've reached A Certain Age, or because I've become busy and lived a fairly happy life since those days? I don't know--it wasn't something I was ever able to force myself or will myself to do--but it's a relief and a blessing.

Loni Townsend said...

Hehe, yeah, I have scars, but they are few. They shaped me into who I am. I'm independent because my brother refused to help me when I asked him to. I love my husband's competence more because I had to deal with an ex-boyfriend who was lacking. It took me a long time to appreciate my appearance because the first time I got fixed up for a dance and thought I looked pretty (glasses, braces, and all), I got a talking to about how vanity is bad. I think that crushed my spirit the most. Though my mother never intended it that way, it came across that I wasn't allowed to like what I saw in the mirror. Maybe that's why my main character is The Woman's Man, always working to help women feel their worth.

Do you have scars you know shaped you in certain ways?

Mike Louie said...

Everyone has wounds and emotional scars. It's the downside of interacting with flawed, imperfect people and being one.

I think by tapping into those very painful memories for the sake of relating AND helping others is one of the most beautiful acts of courage we all can do. My blog serves as a platform for me to help friends who can relate to my struggles. Because of my writing, I've had countless couples reach out to my wife and me about infertility and I feel incredibly blessed to help them.

Thanks for making me think, Cynthia. I'm actually publicly speaking in April at a Christian retreat about scars - so this is very timely. Will have to blog and share right after!

Suzanne Furness said...

This is such an interesting post and one I can definitely relate to. I think some of the past hurts and memories is one of the reason writing found me. Writing has helped me move forward and by tapping into some of them I think it has made me a much better writer.

Emily R. King said...

Oh, yes. I use my scars as fuel. I like to write the ugly, to pull it out and dig around it in. To shine a light in all the deep crevices for all to see. Those ugly scars provide endless fuel for conflict, and on the flip side—-also resolution. I get to write the ending I wish I had. :)

Sherry Ellis said...

Leave it to Stephen King to contemplate the scars of being a writer! I personally don't like to think about the rejections. I look at all the good things that have happened since I became a writer - and there have been a lot!

John Wiswell said...

I'm nowhere near where King was at when he wrote Misery and I already don't remember everything. I've been too busy, submitted too many times, published enough, and been enjoyed and hated by enough people. It won't all stay in my head. I try to sort out what scars are useful and dismiss the unnecessary pain. Everything in search of what makes me better at the craft.

Julie Flanders said...

Interesting idea! I never thought about it, but there are some scars that have probably influenced my writing. I hadn't read this quote before.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. It's great to meet you!

Julie Flanders said...

Interesting idea! I never thought about it, but there are some scars that have probably influenced my writing. I hadn't read this quote before.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. It's great to meet you!

Medeia Sharif said...

I wish I didn't hold onto bad things from the past, but I do. The worst feelings I can't get rid of are from my job from hell from years ago. The people there were brutal and I should have stood up for myself better, but I was young and know how to defend myself now. I soothe myself by telling myself it was a learning experience, yet it stays with me; I think about that place at least once a day. I do take horrible things and write about them. Some things are so guttural and strong that they look great on the pages of a novel.

Cherie Colyer said...

I like the idea that it's the writer in me that remembers the negative things that I do remember. Don't get me wrong, I have lots of good memories, too. Both end up fueling my writing.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Sometimes my children and husband wish my memory wasn't so good. I, too, ladies hold onto slights. Depending upon severity, I try making the story humorous. I try to keep a positive attitude when including some scars into fiction. I enjoyed the recent blog hop and connecting with bloggers online.

S.P. Bowers said...

Interesting. I've often wondered why I couldn't forget or let go of some things, why some experiences still felt as if they happened last week. Maybe this is why.

Misha Gericke said...

I've got my share of scars, but yeah, I remember even as I let go of the negative emotions. :-)

Shannon Lawrence said...

It would be nice to think this is why I can't let things go.

Aspiring Author said...

Electroconvulsive Therapy or ECT has left me with plenty of scars (both physical and the other ones)but ironically has robbed me of my memory. It's a side effect of my treatment and I have found myself flipping through diary entries wondering,"did that really happen?"
Well, whether you're being strapped to a chair and electrocuted or not I suggested journaling. If memories really are an important place from where we draw our strengths, I think it's good to keep a private record of them.

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