Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Just Couldn’t

I found myself in a predicament I’ve never really experienced before and it frankly surprised me.
It all started with the Writer’s Digest writing competition. The contest is open to several different genres from short fiction to inspirational articles. I planned on only entering the fiction part until Saturday night. Just out of the blue I thought of an inspirational article I could write about a three year period during which I battle a serious illness. My mom has been encouraging me to be more open about those years and all of a sudden I found a way to write about it that might be able to convey the incredible things God taught me during that time.
I thought about it for a day then finally decided to just give it a try. What was the harm in writing it out and seeing how it sounded?...BUT I COULDN’T!
After two very short paragraphs I had to jump to something else. I just couldn’t write it out! It might be perfectly constructed in my head, but trying to put the thoughts in to visible words was just too much. Eventually I had to push away from the computer entirely and seek out the comfort of a cup of cappuccino and the fresh air of my back porch. :P
I don’t know why I can’t put it down. Maybe it just hasn’t been long enough since those very, very painful years. I’d like to be encouraging and share the amazing things I took away from it all, but right now this blog post seems to be as deep as I can go.
The funny thing is author Brandilyn Collins recently announced she will soon release a novel based on a years-long illness she struggled against. I told her at the time I thought she was extremely brave and I didn’t think I could do the same…I just didn’t realize I would apparently be physically incapable of at least putting down a page on the subject. (sigh)
Maybe someday I’ll be able to write that article out. Maybe this post is a little step towards that. Or maybe that time is just a part of me, but not necessarily one I can openly talk about. :?
Have you ever found yourself in this place?

28 comments:

Warren Baldwin said...

Emily Ann,
Good questions; maybe you are still processing the experience? I wonder if it would help if you 1) told of your experience/emotions, etc. to a friend or 2) spoke it into a recorder? That might break "the spell."

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Emily Ann -

It took me a while before I could write about my husband's battle with leukemia and death. My heart and emotions needed to heal before the words would go from head to paper.

I finally sent a story to Cup of Comfort for the Grieving, but it wasn't accepted. Someday it will find a home.

Blessings,
Susan

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Warren: That's an interesing suggestion. I might try finding some to talk to...thought that in itself feels scary too. I guess some things must be pressed through.

Susan: Thank you for sharing your story. :) I'm sure your story can be a comfort to a lot of people. And I'm sure God will find your story a home.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I have not had an experience like that, but I know others who have. I would suggest beginning with a poem. When I have students struggling to write about a topic they really WANT to write about, that's how they begin. It usually works. :-)

Emily Ann Benedict said...

A poem? Hm, I've never thought of that. I haven't really written any poetry since I was in Jr, but that is an interesting idea.

Karen said...

Emily Ann, I have an experience, (not health) that I haven't shared. Family relations make that a bit hard right now, but I can feel a "bit" of what you mean. I think you made great progress in just admitting you can't write about it, right now. All in good/God's time. I'm so glad you are well now. Blessings**

Jill Kemerer said...

Definitely follow your instincts. Maybe the time isn't right? Or maybe you're meant to connect with someone first who will help you open that part of yourself up?

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Karen: Thanks. I forced myself to at least put this up, hoping that would help me look forward. :)

Jill: Hopefully time will be the key. :) You're the second person to mention I might need to talk to someone first.
That's an interesting suggestion.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Writing about it might be therapeutic. And you don't have to enter it. Write it just for you. :)

Karen Lange said...

I find I do need to process certain things before I can express them in writing. It helps me to talk about them with someone I trust first. Sometimes too, it helps me to journal my thoughts in a random manner.

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Stina and Karen: I kind of like your ideas of just trying to write it out for the sake of writing, maybe just in a random way. That might be helpful. :) Freeing even.

alicia said...

Such a delicate topic, there often isn't just a simple method to accomplish. When my nephew died, my sister in law craved and longed to tell people her journey, but only did when asked. At those times God truly worked in her and her audience to show His mighty hand in their story. God will make His time known to you, and when it's His time, it will come.
God Bless.

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Thanks for sharing, Alicia. That really helps. :)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

That you started the article is an indication that your psyche is healing somewhat. You cannot force a bone to heal faster than its nature. The same is true with your psyche. Healing will come at its own speed.

High sales for your novel. Love the title. Roland

Todd Curl said...

Well Emily, I can most definitely relate to your predicament in a way. It was almost exactly ten years ago when I was hospitalized and battling my own illness. I've been trying for the past month to write about it for inclusion in one or more of my blogs. I just can't bring myself to write more than a few sentences.

It's a weird thing. I have no problem writing about my personal demons and the transgressions of my past, yet this illness, which was something out of my control, unlike the aforementioned transgressions, is something I just can't bring myself to re-examine.

I don't know if it's a matter of you having a hard time showing yourself in a vulnerable light, or perhaps, like me, it's just something that is difficult to come to terms with and accurately depict in words. Regardless, the time will come eventually when you (and myself as well) can convey properly what it is that needs to be said. Contests come and go while our psyche and individual schema of life cannot be rushed.

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Roland: Thank you. I have a feeling time is the best thing I have on my side. :)

Tod: I'm sorry to hear you went through a similar heath crisis. It is not something I would wish on anyone, even though I feel like I learned a lot of the experience.
I think part of the reason I'm having trouble writing about it is the process sort of makes me relive some of the stuff I had to go through and that pain is still fresh.
I hope you are able to come to terms with you struggles too! Like the previous commentor said, time might be the best thing we have. :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Emily Ann,
Thank you for these good questions, and for the discussion that has taken place.

There are a few parts of my life that I struggle to talk about or write about, even without getting into the details. I keep praying, and waiting for God to finish healing me so I can share those things with others in a way that encourages them, and honors him.

However, like so many others have said, writing it out for yourself, time, prayer, poetry, trusting God's time and talking it out with others are good steps down that path for you, for me, and for anyone else struggling with old rocks that haven't been mined for gold yet.

Cara Springer said...

Wow, Emily, I had no idea. But I can definitely relate! I'll have something that is perfectly crystal clear in my heart, but it's so hard (there's no other word for it, it's just plain hard!) to write down, it's unbelievable. Often I just have to write a little bit, and then go do something else for a while. I had no idea anyone else ever felt the same way, though. Now I won't feel like such a freak! ;)

Praise God, He was with us then, and He is still with us now. :)

Bob West said...

I enjoyed your blog! Great insights!
God bless you friend, Bob West
http://westbob.blogspot.com/2010/04/line-upon-line.html

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Tyrean: Hm, rocks that haven't yet been mined for gold? I think that is a beautiful way of putting it! :D
Thanks.

Cara: No, you are not alone! That is one thing I learned from the experience. We might not have the same things to deal with, but we all have something.

Bob: Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to reading your blog too. :)

Deborah Ann said...

Maybe it's not time yet, but when the time does come to write about it, you'll know.

Hey, I got your email that you tagged me on FB? I went on FB and couldn't find it. I'm not too smart some times...

CMOM Productions said...

I actually wrote a blog in October that tackled a difficult topic for me. It's probably the first time I've publicly opened up about it. When it comes to serious issues (health or otherwise) in our past or present, baby steps may be needed at first. You might benefit from taking time to write about it in a private journal before you expose this part of your life to a bigger audience. *hugs*

Elana Johnson said...

Yes, lots of times. Sometimes we go through things that become part of who we are. And we might not be ready to share that part yet.

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Deborah: Thanks...now I've got to run over to FB to see what's going on.

M: Thanks for the hugs! I've noticed in my journals that I've never really been very specific, so I might try that first. :)

Elana: Thanks. Time will indeed tell. :)

Jen said...

Emily I think you're on to something here, you're at least opening yourself up to the idea of possbily writing about it and I think that's the first step.

I find myself wondering if I am ready to share my story, a childhood story that's dark and scary, I never really want to revisit it but writing about it might help, except I can't find the words... maybe one day we both will!

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Jen: Thanks for sharing. I hope you've been able to find healing. I think this might be part of that. :) Like people have said, God has a way of working in the timing. :D

Ee Leen Lee said...

it takes a while to write anything that personal. Perhaps you aren't ready now, perhaps you'll never be ready but the important thing is to not deny the experience of pain. Perhaps if you can;t address it directly, another form will make itself known

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Thanks Ee Leen. :) I appreciate it.