Friday, July 13, 2012

Writing as exorcism

I was on a writing retreat last week and for the first two days I was feeling a bit low. That's unusual for me as I really love the retreat center where I go and the women writers who had come along were all wonderful. Yet I couldn't seem to find any energy for working on my novel even though I had been looking forward to this concentrated time. I'm not a procrastinator by nature and I did want to make progress.

Towards the end of the second day, I realized that I was feeling low because the things I was writing about were sad. The women in this book are not only metaphorically me, they are almost literally me. Frankie's interactions with her mother are not taken from my own life in their circumstances but they are in their emotional tone.

What I had discovered when I got to the retreat was that I needed to write several very painful scenes between mother and daughter. And of course, there was no way around that, only a way through. I did manage to do them both on the fourth morning and was exhausted afterwards and relieved.

Yesterday I was telling my therapistabout  this and she said, "What do you want to accomplish in your relationship with your mother through writing this?" It was hard to articulate my answer to her, but today I know that I want freedom. I want the writing of this book to be a sort of exorcism of old demons.