Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Betrayal and Writing

We've all experienced it on some level. Our friend/spouse/family memeber betrays us. It can be anything from telling an embarrassing story in public to allowing another person to come between you and getting hurt by things said and done as a result. This would include cheating spouses and the like obviously.

As you have probably noticed by my morbid and sad ballads, I have felt some of this betrayal as of late. It is human betrayal. Being a writer helps me to put a spin on it and incorporate it into something constructive. It can make a writer's work extremely powerful and the person reading it will get sucked up in the emotions with you.

My Ballad to Screwed Up Love touched a lot of people. Some commented, but more told me via twitter, or in person. We've all been there. Someone else comes into a loved one's life, and through their influence you are hurt. Whether it's because they cancel on you when you were looking forward to going to that game with them, or they quit communicating the way they used to, the change is hard.

What happens when the betrayal isn't a 'human' betrayal. Like death. I recently lost a stepdad that I didn't know extremely well since he lived across the country. However, the times I've been with him he was kind, strong, and supportive.

History: I'm adoptive. My birth mother freaked out when I was young (I believe she had post-partem depression which was rarely recognized 30 years ago) and ended up working in a casino in another state. There she met this guy. He turned her life around and they came back and tried to do right by her kids, less than a year later. To me, that's a HUGE turn around. He was good. (The State said no, so sorry, too bad for you, and let us grow up believing our mother never cared enough. My one sister is still so full of hatred, she can't hear it and let the knowledge help her heal. The STATE needs to be shot over some of the shit they pulled re my and my siblings adoption and how it was handled.)

She has been with him ever since. Thirty years. Now he is dead. This kind, gentle man suffered so much at the end. He was diabetic and suffered all the worst things that happens to those with bad diabetes-blindness, loss of limbs, gangrene, and the list goes on. And now he's dead. It feels like a betrayal to have someone good be gone early.

My brother died just under two years ago. He was the best of us (which I think I've said before :) and he went first. Why?

When bad things happen to good people, don't you feel like it's a betrayal? But from who God? The fates? The universe? In some ways, that kind of betrayal is harder to work through.

I write. I paint. I do a lot of things. I hug my children more. The emotions brought on by death are powerful, strong, and deep. Use them. Use them to write better, to give more emotion to each word in your manuscript. Words are power. They can heal, wound, and even kill. As a writer, we have the power to move people when they let us into their life. As a writer, we are given a special tool for dealing with harsh emotions. Use it to impact others, but also heal yourself. Use that gift to help you not only get through the emotions yourself, but anyone else going through it with you.

Recently, I've seen a writer's voice be stifled, if not silenced, because they were 'writing' for approval. They were worried about not offending someone. The work that is then done, is weakened, watered down and loses its impact on the reader. It also loses the ability to touch the author and help them heal.

Whether it's a strong emotion you are working out by your writing, or a piece of your story that you need to write for your character, worrying about the approval of others will only stifle your voice, cause you to lose creativity, and you get stress out constantly wondering if it's okay to write that. NO, NO, NO!! The buck stops here!

Not only am I going to quit worrying about the myriad of people who will see my writing, I'm going to write how I feel and I'm going to do my best to impact those around me, those who read my words. I dare you to do the same. In return, anyone who needs a partner in this, from being held accountable, to beta reading, I will do it. For anyone who comments here or emails me, I will be there with them as they are truthful to themselves, their story, and their emotions.

I will critique the story to make it a better story, not a watered down version of what could be. Honest, helpful critiquing. I will let you bounce ideas off me as you work out situations. I ask, in return, that you do the same for me. Don't let me chicken out and water down a powerful scene because of fear of what someone else might think.

The comments I get on here, that let me know about typos and ask about the meaning (like Hope's recent comment *waves hi :) are awesome. It may be out of context issues, but it makes me go LOOK and make sure that it is explained well in context and that I haven't skipped something vital because I, as the all knowing goddess of my book, already knew it!

Seriously, who is with me? Who will help us writers to bring back the power of our words!

Who is up for the dare? Who feels challenged enough to face the fear and get back to writing with impact?


  1. The old maxim 'write about what you know' certainly comes into this.
    I use past experience both negative and poitive to feed my imagination. I bury much that's bad only to free up room for new experiences but allow them to seep up into the words that come onto paper, they remain a vital force to spark creativity.
    The difficult part is to know when listening to critiques will lead to a stiffling of own's work or an improvement - esp. when a beginner. thinking others ought to know because. . . does increase the risk of not being true to oneself.
    good post -try and keep smiling

  2. Dear god, just try and keep me away. You will need a very long stick! I am right there with you, sister. I have been starting to worry about this exact question just recently, worrying if the things I am thinking of writing are too strong. But you are right. To hell with it. Be in touch - I would be ecstatic to form a mutual beta-reading partnership :)

  3. Awesome post! Love it! You are so right. You have to put your words down with heart. If you don't feel them or believe them, why would anyone else? I have been suffering immensely with feelings of betrayal lately, and the best way I know to deal with it is through writing. If you choose, go to my blog and read the poem "Blow." That's where I let out a few things. Keep going, girl. If I can help in any way, just ask.

  4. Three times the charm?? LOL My internet connection has been acting like a truculent 2 you of late. I think he's taking lessons from my son. (has to be a he! A she would never do this to me while I'm trying to do my taxes!)

    @alberta as before, your comment is insightful and spot on! Thank you for your support. :)

    @Anne You're on sistah! Write it with strength and power. Write from your heart. I'm with you. Mutual beta-reading partnership accepted. :D

    PS LOL I'm pretty sure you are the same Anne from my Twitter Klutzclub! Thanks for stopping by :D

    @Michele Thank you. I tried to go to your poem before commenting last time and internet shut down. I shall be dropping by, though! Betrayal is hard. You keep going as well!

    I appreciate your comments! I think it helps everyone who stops by and reads this! And, my new favorite saying for next three months...

    Chin up!!

  5. Totally awesome! Baby, you are the strongest, bravest, and most talented woman... no - person of any gender - I have ever had the plesure of knowing. Your insights are incredible, your emotions untamable, and your words have a power that touches so many. I am proud of you every day, and so happy that you've chosen me as a partner to share your life with. Keep the faith, and never stop the good work! xoxoxoxoxo, your husband.

  6. As a good friend of mine always says "write for yourself first". And it's wise advice because if you don't love writing enough for you, then what's the point? You won't stick to it, and you most definitely will never see it in print, because writing a hard work. (but if you love it, even though it's work, it's pleasure)

    I'm sorry for your loss. And death can most certainty make us think on a deeper level, and pull us from our writing. I know that happened to me when my father-in-law died. But I was miserable. Writing makes me happy, and eventually I found my way back to it.

  7. @Corlyn Thank you! keep writing. Let nothing stop you! We may have to slow down or pause once in a while due to life's various betrayals, but we can't stop and stay true to ourselves!