Posted by AndreaJWenger
I’ve experienced plenty of tragedy in my life. I lost a brother when I was six, and my mother when I was nineteen. If I focused on those things, I would go crazy. The hurt never goes away. It becomes part of you.
I’m currently taking a writing class from novelist Laura Drake, and several of us are working on manuscripts that deal with grief in one form or another. I started asking myself, how do you know you’ve overcome grief? How do you know you’ve reached your “new normal”? To create a satisfying ending in a novel, you have to be able to answer that question. But how does it work in real life?
For me, grief brings a certain disorientation. I can’t quite envision how my future is supposed to look. When I lost my dad unexpectedly six years ago, I was thrust into the role of orphan. My whole life, I’d striven to make my parents proud of me. Now that I no longer had parents, who would I make proud?
It wasn’t until I was able to answer that question that I could really say I had moved beyond my grief.
Now I realize my role on earth is not to make someone proud. It’s to make people’s lives better. As clichéd as it may sound, together, we are more than the sum of our parts. In the writing class I’m taking, we’re all working together to help each of us reach our individual goals. To make our manuscripts and pitches stronger. One suggestion builds on another, each author bringing her knowledge and instincts to the problem, with dramatic results.
I feel blessed to be part of a group of writers intent on helping one another. Incredibly smart, talented, knowledgeable women. I’ve found this true of writers in general. Not all, of course, but most writers derive satisfaction from the success of their colleagues and want to support them. Maybe it’s true of all artists. We form communities that make all of us better by sharing information and cheering each other on.
And isn’t that as much as any of us can hope for out of life? To be part of a community where we can contribute the best of ourselves for the benefit of all?
I am blessed to be a writer. I am blessed to be able to make a living this way. And I hope I never forget to be thankful.
On this day, what are you thankful for?