This article originally appeared on Erindipity, Erin Britt's Blog. But I was thinking about it again yesterday when I was in the midst of a personal crisis of patience and doctors visits and thought I'd revisit it.
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
– Ernest Hemingway
I once had a writing professor say something along these lines in an undergraduate class:
“In everyone’s life there will be crisis and turmoil, pain and suffering. You will have these. These moments will consume you. They will nearly destroy you. It will take all you have to survive them. You’ll be awash and drowning giving everything you have just to hang on for another moment.
“But not really.
“As a writer you are a witness. As your soul twists and turns, bleeds and burns, there will be a part of you hidden in a corner of you being watching it all and taking notes.
“When the smoke clears and the bones knit, you will have a map to those places —emotions and scenes. You will know how to re-open those wounds in yourself, unzip the scars and bleed again for your art. You will be a true witness to the pain and be in a unique position to explore it all again.”
This was the sentiment anyway.
Believe it or not, in the darkest days of my life, I remember this. I find it comforting, if only because it suggests there is some part of me that rises above the trouble. And then, when it’s all over, I have notes.
These notes came in useful when I wrote BEATRYSEL. Though on the surface, the book is an occult thriller, a horror by some standards, but it is in fact, a love story.
Is there any pain like that of being rejected by a lover? It is so real, so powerful that it seems like a creature unto itself.
And thus was born BEATRYSEL.
Using my own casebook of scabbed-over emotional scars, I approached the issues of love and betrayal, yearning and sacrifice, and played it all against the backdrop of modern occult philosophy where Will can become Form.
Thus my notes – my buried personal pain of bad relationships and love, turned fruitful. In writing BEATRYSEL, I bled again but had another chance to examine my old wounds and better understand them. I cleaned them up, stitched them together, soothed them with new insight and possibilities. In the end I was better. Not healed perhaps, but better. This is the power of writing.
And I got a damn fine book out of it.
Anyone who has ever had a love affair go bad will recognize the power of BEATRYSEL. Anyone who’s hidden in the corner of their mind while their body sobbed for a lost lover, will sympathize. For BEATRYSEL is a creature of love.