When I was younger and I was pushed into literature classes and various English studies, I was often annoyed by certain authors. One, in particular, was John Steinbeck. Though I would never sneeze at his books and say you should never read them. They are actually quite good, I just can’t stand them. “Grapes of Wrath” is not the book for me, nor is the “Garden of Eden” or “Carney Row”.
I had a teacher obsessed with him. And plus at the time I lived in California so of course, we had to take a field trip to Monterrey. Which I declined. I gladly did an essay on a book of my choosing.
Another author that brought me to tears of boredom was Earnest Hemingway. Although a talented writer, I think pain drying was more entertaining.
I think the problem with both of these authors is they actually put the sadness and heartache they themselves went through into their books. Earnest Hemingway is famous for being depressed and is practically a poster boy for suicide. Having read books like “Farewell to Arms,” or “The Old Man and the Sea.”
When I first read these books I was in my prime as an immature teenager. I couldn’t grasp the gravity of emotion being described in these books. Nor could I even understand “Shell Shock” that Earnest Hemingway clearly suffered from. My teachers were more interested in the “theme” of the book and “what the author meant by saying this…”. (Rolling eyes here).
As I work on my latest project I find myself putting more of “me” into the book. I write things that I have experienced, conversations I have had and things I have gone through. The more I put my feelings and experiences into words the more intimate I feel my work has gotten. And that makes it intimating to allow anyone to read. I can only imagine what it was like for old Hemingway.
I battle with depression, and admission that I still try to deny much less feel comfortable admitting. Reading some passages of his work now, with my more mature eyes, I feel as though his books resonate with me more. To pour yourself out like that is therapeutic and at the same time draining. I’ve found myself reliving some things and it is just as unpleasant as it was the first time.
I find myself going to dark places in my mind and I start falling deeper into the abyss. Is this how Hemingway felt? Each time he purged the nagging words from a story out on to paper.
Mind you I am NOT comparing myself to the work that Hemingway produced but I can now relate to him. I can now see the suffering that plagued him and untimely led him to his end.
Going back to black is a title that I chose for this post, mainly because as I was writing this I was listening to Amy Winehouse but also because it fits.
Amy Winehouse is another person who put herself out there on a silver platter for the world to enjoy.
It takes I think real courage to be able to put your pain, fears, joys and happiness into something creative. I have learned these past few weeks just how intimate writing really is, and how raw and naked it is to have someone-anyone-read it.
As anxiety bubbles and grows inside of me the closer I get to finishing this monster of a story. (By the way I am not even thinking about theme-I’ll save that crap for another post). I wonder how in the world people are able to get the past, themselves. How do you support and push yourself to share your art with the world? What helps you get out of the dark and way from the black? Or what keeps you there?
Don’t for get to nominate Fallen!