I was fortunate to be asked to attend a panel last week at Mentone Library to discuss ‘Writing Through Adversity’, because of our published book, Journey: Experiences with Breast Cancer. This book has already received great feedback despite the fact that it’s only now just reaching the bookshops.
The panel consisted of five women (one being Mairi Neil, who contributed to our book) who talked about how writing has helped them cope with difficult times in their lives. It occurred to me as I was listening to various discussions that this is true for myself. In fact, when I look back at my personal journal writing, most of the entries are made when I was going through troubling times. Seems when I’m happier, I don’t feel the need to write. Is this because when I’m unhappy, I spend more time wallowing in it? I don’t think so. I think that writing has always helped me make sense of things. It’s the time when I can write to my ‘therapist’ who is in fact myself. But on the page, I can make statements that I know will not be shot down or thought ridiculous. And I can answer those statements and try to come up with solutions.
Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are. – Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha.
Isn’t this why many people write? To make sense of the world? To find the truth about life? And this is why people read. To make sense of the world and to realise that although they may feel like an odd ball, they are in fact like many other people.
So you cannot have writers without readers. They go hand in hand. And for those writers who boast that they don’t read, you’re doing yourself a disservice. And for every writer who wants to improve their craft. Go read a book!