I’ve been thinking a lot about the storms of life, and about the way storms are unavoidable. As long as we are breathing, we are surrounded by storms. They are always brewing or raging or settling.
This might seem like a gloomy outlook, which may surprise you if you’ve been a longtime reader. This week, as I pursue a book idea, I’ve been lingering in the struggle. We know that struggle is the heart of fiction—no struggle, no story—but what I’m discovering is it is also at the heart of nonfiction.
What struggle do I write about? I’ve asked this question over and over in my notebook. I’ve asked Andy. I asked the BONS (my writing group). It’s been a surprise to me that I’ve struggled to answer. (Can the struggle be about struggling to write? Oh wait, I’ve already written that book.)
The answer cannot be celebration. Celebration is the solution, but I’ve been asking, what is the struggle? What is the main issue I write about?
I tug on Hope. Can hope be an issue? Is hope a struggle? It certainly has been for me. We, Hope and me, are on good terms these days. It’s because Hope has sturdy shoulders and could take the name calling all of those years when I thought it was a liar and a big-mean-faker.
The more I churn and wonder and collect and talk, the more I’m realizing the issue I write about is the storms of life. Trouble comes. Struggle happens.
There’s always a storm brewing or a storm raging or a storm settling. I write about the storms.
As I’ve realized this, I’ve wondered why—why do I write about the storms? There are endless options I could choose instead. There is beauty and goodness all around; I write about the storms.
It’s so I’m not sad.
I stack the storms in sentences and pile paragraphs. I push on the tension between darkness and hope. I find beauty as shadows loom; I capture it. I corral the storm and find the celebration because then I’m not so sad.
And I hope others won’t be so sad when storms brew or rage or settle in their lives, because they can find the celebration, too.
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