Monday, June 25, 2012

Writing Through Grief: One Word at a Time


“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”  That brilliant line from Charles Dickens never meant more to me than it did this year.  That’s because I got body-slammed with tragedy at the start of 2012 just as I began what was supposed to be one of the most hard-fought and exciting times of my life.  

You see, I was going to begin crafting a marketing plan for my YA debut Hooked while also putting the finishing touches on the second YA that I was contracted to write for HarlequinTEEN.  It was supposed to be a cool year for me.  But I was an emotional wreck. 

My Dad passed away from a stroke shortly after Christmas.  It was sudden.  We were very close.  And it felt as if someone sliced open my chest and stomped on my heart.  I had been so lucky to have such a wonderful father, and I couldn’t picture a Universe without him.  As if Dad’s death wasn’t tragic enough, my mother’s Alzheimer’s condition took a nose-dive, mostly due to Dad's death I'm certain, and it was like we'd lost both of our parents.  For anyone with a loved one who battles Alzheimer’s, these words will make sense.  If not, count your blessings that you do not know this cruel disease. 

Meanwhile, in between all of The Bad, Reality kept knocking on my door, softly at first and then louder as Spring approached.  I had to get myself back in the game.  But I wasn’t sure if I could.  Some days I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to.  Medical bills, doctors visits, care givers, death certificates,  hospice care, sorting through possessions--none of these are fun activities during the best of times.  Imagine them when your world is broken.

It’s a blessing and a curse that writers get to live inside their heads.  Unfortunately my head had become trick-wired with emotional landmines.  I never knew when one of them would explode, when I’d burst into tears for no reason.  In the car, grocery stores, in front of my laptop--I've cried just about everywhere.  Somehow writing teen stories seemed damned impossible. 

But it turned out that writing saved me.   

My stories began to call to me again, nipping at the back of my mind.  So I started writing a little at a time.  One day I’d manage a paragraph.  The next, I’d pound out 2000 words.  Some of it was actually pretty good; a lot of it was pure crap.  But for that five minutes or hour or afternoon, I began to feel like I was getting my life back.  Slowly, but surely.  One word at a time. 

Times are still tough and will likely remain that way for a while.  The tears still come, usually when I least expect it.  But just like it’s helped me before, writing will get me through the rough times like the loyal and patient friend it’s always been.   

Everyone experiences tragedy at some point in their lives.  Unfortunately it usually comes when we least expect it.  How do you keep going down the road when the going gets rough?




Liz Fichera lives in the American Southwest.  Her young adult debut Hooked is the story of a Native American girl who dares to join her high school’s all boys golf team.  Much angst, hijinks, and kissing ensue.  Hooked releases on January 29, 2013, from HarlequinTEEN, with a cover reveal next month.  Visit http://www.lizfichera.com/ to learn more and connect in all of the usual social media hangouts.

21 comments:

  1. So sorry to hear about your tough time, Liz. Really glad you're writing helped pull you through.

    Chelsey

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  2. Thanks for sharing such a best tips ever.. and how much it help me i can't say myself.. too nice.. thanks and keep more sharing please.

    Facebook marketing

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    1. Glad you find them helpful, Shelly. Thanks for visiting today.

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  3. Liz, so glad you fought through all of that tragedy and started writing again.

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  4. It doesn't mean much, but I'm so, so sorry. I'm happy for you that you have writing to pull you through. I lost an old friend of mine a few years ago at a really young age, and there's nothing that compares to that pain, to that feeling of your chest being torn apart. I've found that writing really helps heal wounds, patch up broken souls.
    Sending good thoughts your way.

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    1. Your kind words mean a lot, Riv. Thank you! And sorry about your friend.

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  5. This is really inspiring. Thanks for sharing your story, Liz.

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  6. So sorry for all the tough stuff that has come your way. And your ability to take one step at a time on the path will see you to the other side.

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    1. Thank you, Liz. It's a slow process but it is a process. There's strength in that.

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  7. Liz...just wow. Clearly, your dad raised a writer. What a beautiful tribute to the power of words to help us heal.

    In answer to your question, writing helped me tremendously when it came to dealing with the grief process following divorce several years ago. I didn't consciously think about *how* I was doing it, but I just kept finding myself in front of the blank page/screen with words that needed to be written/typed on that particular day. Before long, I'd start to see the threads of a story, I'd follow them, and so it went...

    Thanks for this wonderful post.

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    1. Thank you, Nicole. My Dad was a great guy. I was blessed. Words and writing are such dear friends, aren't they? They help us through so much. Glad you found your way back too.

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  8. Death makes no sense. You are very brave to share your story , Liz. Thank you.

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  9. Thank you for sharing your story. I spent about four years working a full time job and taking care of my parents every week-end; one was losing eye sight, the other had Alzheimer's. During the week, after work and dinner, I would spend the evening writing. I wrote my first novel during that period.

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    1. Gail, you have my utmost respect and admiration. Those are not easy tasks. Glad you had your writing to help you through that tough time.

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  10. Liz, your story is an inspiration to us all. I am so sorry for your loss. Sometimes I am amazed by the strength that lies within us. Thank you for sharing such a personal story with us.

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    1. Thank you, Jenny. Sometimes we have no choice but to simply deal, right? :)

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  11. So glad to hear that you found inspiration through the pain of loss. I'm looking forward to reading HOOKED!

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