How To Turn Anger On Its Head.

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RIGHT NOW I’M ANGRY.

LIVID

SEETHING

INCANDESCENT

…and just a teensy bit cross.

Normally I am pretty easy going; tolerant of others and non-judgemental, a good listener, blah-de blah-de blah … I hope.

But not right now.

NOW NO MORE MRS NICE PERSON!

She’s gone out for a while.  She’ll probably be back later but right now she’s not at home.

Just like the Incredible Hulk, I am, figuratively speaking, you understand, bursting out with raging emotional muscles, a strange, tooth baring grimace (Not pretty.  Please look away now), and sporting a rather odd, sickly complexion.  I feel sick.  I look sick. I need a little lie-down.

I hate these feelings that are rampaging around inside me.  They make me uncomfortable, irrational, upset and a bit sorry for myself.  I can’t focus on anything except my hurt, indignation and fury. Can’t sleep either.

And on top of all that, there are those angry mental conversations and rants that fill my head, to the exclusion of everything else.

You know the ones.  When those clever, pithy remarks and Churchillian put-downs that you never manage to think of during a real confrontation, are tripping off your tongue with scintillating brilliance. You are stunned by your own grandiloquence. Those empowering fantasies where you get to do all the talking and the object of your wrath is struck dumb by your eloquence, command of language and pure righteousness.  He/she/it – I don’t want to appear discriminatory in this – doesn’t stand a chance against you.  He/she/it  quakes; trembling in a pathetic, whimpering heap on the floor of your mental dungeon; a single unforgiving spotlight trained upon him/her/etc…

He/she/it- you know the rest – is nothing.

A lowly worm.

He etc. accepts without argument that his is a lowly place in this world and you are Queen – or King – and what you say goes.

Oh! The power! You are indefatigable in justified fury.  You are victorious.

OK.  So that’s the fantasy, but you know what I mean.

I am in the right.  Of course, I am.  (Actually, in this particular instance, I am. Obviously).

Kind, forgiving thoughts can keep out.  There’s no room for forgiveness here.  I will not soften.  Well, not yet, anyway.

But I haven’t, in this particular instance, had a confrontation with anyone.  Thank goodness.  And I don’t intend to because family harmony will be put to the test in a big way if it does come to that.  And I can’t afford for that to happen.  There’s too much to loose.  So I have to bite my tongue.  And that hurts.

But that’s the thing with anger isn’t it?  It can come at a terrible cost, sometimes, if you let it.  And I’m not prepared to pay the price of wreaking my wrath on the object of my anger.  I have to keep it bottled up.  And I know I’ll calm down in time and it will all blow over.  But right now I have to deal with it. Somehow.

Which led me to consider how I could direct this uncomfortable emotion which scratches like a hair shirt, to some more positive use.  OK. So I have never actually worn a hair shirt, but I can’t imagine it sits softly on the skin.  It’s fine that I am stomping around the house, eating less and burning up unwanted calories with white hot fury.  I can’t object to that.  But there has to be something more constructive to be gained from this highly uncomfortable emotion.

Which is what brought me here.  To these pages where I can let off steam and hopefully turn it into something more constructive.

And now that I am focussing on my anger in a more analytical light the solution becomes obvious.  I can write it out.  I can use these feelings to better effect in my novel.  When my protagonist gets angry, and I know she will – she already has when The Wild Hunt wrenched her from all that was familiar and kidnapped someone she loved – I now know exactly how to write it out for her and she’ll feel so much better for my understanding exactly how she feels, and how she should react.

I now find myself directing my attention to exactly what I am feeling in a more analytical way. Trying to take the ‘personal’ out of it.  Watching it as if from a distance.  Feeling the heat of anger and drawing from it; controlling and not letting it own me.

I’m taking note in a more dispassionate way, of those hot rage-fuelled impotent tears that are ever close to spilling down my face.  Objectively noting the sensation of the cold sweat breaking out on my skin and the sickly churning in my stomach;  my trembling hands and tightening, dry mouth and clenched jaw;  the headache, and the tension across my shoulders.  That feeling of wanting to run and hide.

Strange how it feels a lot like fear.

I can write a scene that uses these emotions and physical feelings with much more understanding now that I am channelling my fury in a positive way, instead of just letting it take me over and cause me heartburn and sleepless nights and a whole range of other uncomfortable feelings.

So here we are, and I do, actually, feel a whole lot better for that, in a strange sort of way.

And maybe that’s a useful thing to remember;  if you can take the personal out of a negative emotion like anger; turn off the rant and switch on the analyst, you can turn a huge negativity into a lesson in creativity and use it to constructive effect.

Which brings me on to all the other more positive emotions:  love, passion, tenderness, kindness, compassion, sympathy…

The same can be applied here. They’ll be a lot more comfortable to explore in a more dispassionate fashion – for a little while. We wouldn’t want to get too distant from the warmer side of life, after all.  Take a quick peek at how they make you feel, then get back to enjoying them.

I don’t want to be constantly analysing things.  I’m no psychoanalyst, psychologist,  or any other armchair ‘ologist’.  That would put a cold scientific spin on things, which is not what I want at all.  I’m simply a normal person like any other, who feels deeply and often painfully.

But as a writer, I want to be able to redirect these feelings in a constructive way.  I want to get something positive out of the anger.  It can only improve my writing, surely?

And that tight knot in my stomach has eased at last.

Catharsis.

I feel better already.

Ah, look!  That’s good.

Mrs Nice Person’s coming back home.

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Nearly there…

…By which I mean we are nearly into yet another New Year.  This year, or rather next, I am absolutely determined to concentrate on my novel. I have made such promises to myself in the past and precious little has come of it.  That is why I have stuck my neck out and gone public with my intention to publish in 2014.  I am hoping that having popped my head above the parapet and admitted my dreams to the world (or that small part of it that reads this stuff), that I shall force myself to continue to write, and to actually complete the project and see it published, since to fail yet again would be rather embarrassing.

There is, I think, some inner fear in me that, even though I am over 27000 words in, I don’t have whatever it might take to carry on, and I have used the ‘Oooh! Christmas is coming…I have so much to do…’ excuse to stop struggling with plot and characterisation etc and sit folding bits of paper over oddly shaped objects.  It’s easier to wrap a chocolate teapot by an open fire than it is to write the next line, particularly as lately my characters have been going ‘off piste’ all by themselves and acting in a very peculiar fashion and I have no idea how to get them back on track.  Does that happen to you?  If so, please tell me how to discipline them.  I don’t want to squash their imaginations, and I admire their creative spirit, but I would like them to do what I want occasionally otherwise the story that I imagined will turn into something else completely.

Which on reflection, might not be a bad thing…I digress!

So, that said, how do you discipline yourself to write?  What advice would you give to a dreamer with the attention span of a gnat and the self discipline of a two year old 😀  

Do you have a nagging parent, spouse or significant other who lovingly reminds you of your resolution?  Is your muse/conscience sitting on your shoulder like a dead weight, or does he/she/it give you wings?  Do you have some wonderful technical gizmo that goads you into action without any urging on your part?  If so, please let me know what it is and I shall download it immediately.  I do love a gadget. But whatever means you use to stick to your keyboard and produce your words, I would love to hear how you stay motivated.  

Or perhaps you are just superbly driven, disciplined and motivated.  

Oh, how I envy you.

I wish I was.  

Happy New Year, one and all.

 

 

 

 

The Muse at Christmas

 

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For the last few days, being taken up with all the preparations for Christmas, I have been elbow deep in flour making pastry for sausage rolls etc, knee deep in wrapping paper, and up to my eyes in tree decorations, which has not left very much of me free to write.  I have been inwardly bemoaning the necessities of Christmas preparations taking me away from my keyboard, and given that I have been itching to carry on with both blog and novel,  it has all been a bit frustrating and I have even found myself on the odd occasion, looking forward to an end to all this festive stuff – I know, I know, ‘Bah Humbug!’  I hear you cry – so that I can put the metaphorical pen to the virtual paper once again.

That is until it occurred to me this morning that actually, all the preparations, time consuming, and enjoyable as they are, have been anything but a hindrance to the creative spirit.  For although I have had little time to do other than change the occasional word here and there in my novel, dot the odd ‘i’ and cross the errant ‘t’, my mind, whilst being overtaken with the practical, has been off on a wonderful flight of fancy and I find that I have garnered quite a few new ideas.  Suddenly my protagonists have taken on a new dimension and the plot does indeed thicken.  I am really excited now, and have made use of my Kindle to jot down notes and ideas as they have come to me and I realise that far from being a hindrance to the creative need, the Spirit of Christmas has actually proved to be my Muse.

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas, whatever your faith, and a peaceful and productive New Year and as a famous literary small boy once said  ‘ God Bless us all, everyone!’