Today’s insight, what I write is often directly related to what I’m reading.
I’ve feel like I’ve been struggling with creativity recently. I haven’t been writing a lot, and I usually relate that to being depressed, but I think there may be something else going on in tandem with the usual ups and downs in my mood.
I tend to write more when I’m reading something related to my grief. It’s a function of where my head is at. When I’m reading I’m processing, when I’m processing I have many more themes to think and write about.
During the first couple of months after Kevin’s death I didn’t read anything, but my pain was all encompassing at the time, so there was always something to explore. Around January of last year I started reading what Lisa and I refer to as the “dead kid” books (I hope no one finds that offensive, sick humor has always been a defense mechanism for us). As I would work through these books I’d think about how the stories and advice related to my personal situation; more things to write about.
Last summer I began to explore near death experiences. Simply put, I was compelled to find some assurance that Kevin’s essence still existed in some way. I’ve never been able to find much comfort in traditional religious beliefs. I did a lot of thinking about the big questions and wrote a lot as I sorted out my thoughts and beliefs. I also read The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud during this period (way better than the movie and highly recommended). Imagining what the afterlife might be like, considering my thoughts on religion, spirituality and ultimate reality; some of that found its way in here and some of it I’ve kept to myself, but it was a rich source of inspiration.
In September I bought Lisa a Nook for her birthday but she decided she didn’t like it, so I ended up taking it over. I guess my favorite thing about the Nook is whenever I finish a book I have the entire bookstore at my fingertips. Another interesting side effect is that I have a nice record of what I’ve read. I started of by purchasing the first four books in the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. This was really the first thing I read that wasn’t related to my grief journey and reading it coincided with a drop in my writing production and creativity.
After that I read a book about life after death from an eastern perspective and another near death experience book, lo and behold I was doing a lot of thinking, and writing again. I recently decided to take a break and read A Dance with Dragons, the fifth book in the Fire and Ice series. I made a conscious decision to read something that was “just for fun” but it has coincided with another period of creative struggle.
The only creative thing I’ve written recently was a short story about having one’s soul sucked out by the “It’s a Small World” ride at Magic Kingdom inspired by the conversation Drew and I were having while on the ride. This represents the first creative writing I’ve done that’s not related to Kevin since all this started.
This morning I was reading the monthly Compassionate Friends Newsletter and I suddenly had two or three new ideas to explore, including this one.
I guess it makes sense, when I’m working on my grief I have things to explore and thus to write about, when I take a break I don’t. I need to take some breaks from time to time to keep my own mental health. That said I’m proud that people check in here to read what I post and I feel as if I’m letting folks down in a way if I’m not producing anything new. I am also acutely aware that I have a long way to go before I can feel as if I’ve reconciled my grief to the point where I can move on. It’s difficult to even find the right words to describe “the end” of this process since there really is no end to it.
I guess I’ll just keep taking it as it comes. I hope you all continue to check in.