Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters

Surviving… and Writing

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writer, new writer, short stories, poetry, hey lou

first, you gotta survive!

When I say I’m writing all day long, it usually means that I wander over to do the dishes…fold some laundry…text Greg to see how work is going…and then sit down again to type. That’s not to say that I’m not thinking of what it is I am going to write the entire time. I can’t really stop my mind from thinking the next thought or coming up with the next character.

I like to call this rehearsing. I rehearse all day long, even if I’m busy at work. I never get writer’s block, if I count all the thinking I do as part of the writing process.

Today, as I sat in our hallway (because it heats up faster than the entire house), I listened to music the entire time. One song that really stuck out to me was Cory Branan’s song Survivor Blues. If you haven’t heard of him, look him up. And listen to Survivor Blues. Cory has written some of the most poignant lyrics I have ever heard and some of the most profound are in this one song.

We’ve all heard that old phrase:

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

It’s a popular tattoo. A very clichéd bit of advice to give someone who has had a horrible day.

But what about the flip side to that? What about that terrible, gut wrenching pain that some people feel? Survivor Blues states it plainly:

‘They say it makes you stronger

But first you gotta survive”

What a concept. First, you have to survive whatever it is that is potentially going to make you stronger. It might really suck. The next lyrics says,

“What didn’t kill you will make you wish you died”

Again… what a concept. I’m usually a pretty optimistic person, but yes, there have been days where I felt this way. OR days where I knew someone else was going through something so terrible that this was how they felt.

Yet, at the end of the day, people are resilient. Even people who think to themselves that they’d rather have died than survived whatever they just lived through… even they come out on top. They DO eventually get stronger.

It’s the surviving that counts, though.

Right now I’m constantly inside the world of a character I’ve written, Ezra, who has survived something I would consider awful. If I were him, I’d even wish that I could have died at times. This is what characters do… at least the ones who stay with us as readers. They survive anything. They hit rock bottom and somehow, some way, rise up again. It can be a struggle, a messy, ugly one at that, but a successful struggle in the end. (except for those extremely depressing stories where everything goes to hell and never comes back. but those aren’t the standard… or my favorite)

I hope that as you live your own story and continue to be the main character in your own lives, that you are all surviving whatever it is you are going through!


Author: Melinda Haas

Melinda is a writer, blogger, artist and teacher. She lives in Wisconsin with her family.

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