Monday, December 19, 2011

Life Isn't Always Great

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Remember Pollyanna, the girl who put a positive spin on just about everything in life? No matter what misery came along, she smiled her way through it. She's obviously not a real person. Eleanor Porter, the woman who created Pollyanna must have wanted to send a strong message to her readers about facing life with the right attitude. Her character carried it to extremes at times, but she definitely made a point.

The problem is that very few of us can look at every part of our life with a smile as big as the girl in the book and movie. I'm one who tries hard to keep a positive outlook as much as possible, but there are times when you just cannot do it, times when the sadness in your life overshadows all else.

There are periods in your writing life when you write about sadness, tragedy, and the downside of life. It's perfectly alright to do that. I think it serves a purpose for both the reader and the writer. The reader can take comfort in the fact that others also meet adversity in everyday life. They see a kindred spirit, and perhaps they can find a positive message somewhere within the sadness of the story. The writer finds a release in writing about a dark spot in life and can offer solace in some way to the reader.

Let's face it. LIfe isn't always great. Yesterday, I read two poems written by a woman who had never submitted her work anywhere. They were well written but both centered on an abused woman. She managed to bring forth some outstanding emotion in her poems. Any other woman who had lived with a controlling individual could readily relate. I read a Christmas letter about a tragic time in a friend's 2011, but she managed to find a scripture verse that fit perfectly.

Death is a subject some writers avoid at all costs, while others embrace the subject in their writing. Death is a part of life, and I think we need to address it in our writing, too. I've stood at the graves of two of my children and both my parents with myriad thoughts swirling through my mind. And I've written about it. Comments from readers let me know it was alright to share my grief with others. Doing so may have helped some who read my story, and I know it eased my sadness.

Writers face all the joys and sorrows of everyday, ordinary people. Who better to write about both the happy and sad times of life? My hope is that they manage to incorporate a thread of hope that the reader can grasp and hold onto. You see, the Pollyanna in me wants it.


  1. As always, I enjoy your articles! I had a Creative Writing Professor tell me there were only three subjects that one could write about: birth (sex), death and interpersonal relationship struggles. -- or something like that! (It was so long ago, I may be wrong about the third one.) Thank you!

  2. Thanks for your comment. I love hearing from readers.