Okay, this is the year I resolve to write more and do everything else less...Ha! It's only 1/5/11 and I've already broken that resolution. Still doing too much with too little time (as is the same for you Dear Reader, I suspect). This week I've written and submitted my next article for Kentucky Gardener (on Long Lasting Perennials for my fellow flower lovers) and written two new poems for my Master's Project.
This is my last semester of grad school. I'm finished with my classes and am spending most of my time finishing my final project. It's a book length collection of poetry about adopting my youngest daughter, Grace. Some of you know we adopted Grace five years ago from China. At the time, we had no idea that Grace was autistic and severely mentally retarded. (Yes, they still use that word--I've made peace with it, it's just a diagnostic term.) It was, and still is, one of the hardest things I've ever done. Grace demands more time and energy than my other three children combined, but she also inspires me in ways I never dreamed of. Writing helps me deal with it.
I suspect a lot of writers are alike in this way. You might not have a child like Grace, but we all have challenges. Things we don't understand. Things that make something inside of us say, "Wait a minute, I never signed up for this. It's not fair! Can't I get a refund?" And then you hear something like this, "Nope. Sorry, no refunds. Suck it up." Or worse, you hear nothing at all. At this point, you have two choices. Dissolve into a blubbering mess. Or suck it up and move on. (Okay, I have to admit, I bounce back and forth between these two options. Some days I'm a mess. Some days, I'm okay. Same for you, I suspect.)
The wonderful thing about being a writer is that you can transform those things in your life that are so hard you just want to give up into something positive. Stay with me as I geek out for a minute and give you a Harry Potter analogy. Harry's parents were murdered when he was just a baby. His mother died trying to protect him. Horrible, right? Of course. Losing your parents is earth shattering. (I miss mine every day.) But this horrible thing that happened to Harry was his salvation several times. What protected him from Voldemort? How did he become the famous "Boy Who Lived"? Through his mother's sacrifice. The thing that caused him so much pain also brought him life & light.
You and I can do the same thing. We can reach inside and take those things that are the most difficult, the most painful and turn them into something beautiful. Why can we do this? Because we're writers. And if we have a superpower, this is it.