Monday, November 16, 2015

Write About Trauma--An Aid In Healng

Since Friday's dreadful attacks in Paris, I have been thinking about the traumas we all must face in our lives. We lose loved ones. We watch in horror the tragedies around our world. We read about accidents and murders and suicides in the newspapers every day. New parents must sometimes face raising a severely handicapped child. We cannot escape the sad parts of living.

As writers, we know that putting your thoughts into printed words after a traumatic event or great tragedy can be a beginning step in the healing process when grief engulfs us. It's a form of release for all the pent-up feelings within. It won't change whatever happened. It may not solve anything either but it can help us to deal with the situation.

Ronda Miller, author of Moonstain, has released her innermost feelings in the poems in this book. She has been traveling around her home state of Kansas speaking to groups about her poetry and urging others to write about the difficult times they have encountered. After a recent program, titled Motion in Emotion in Wichita, one of the hosts in the audience wrote the following regarding Ronda's presentation:

 "Her open and forthright talk about dealing with trauma and grief by writing poetry led one person after another to read their words aloud. Several readers had never shared these poems in public before today. In some cases, tears were shed by both readers and listeners. A moving, cathartic, and informative afternoon."

Ronda had sent an earlier request that audience members bring poems they'd written dealing with grief, tragedy and trauma. As you can see in the quote above, many were read in public for the very first time. Even though tears were shed, there must have been a great feeling of release by those who read their work aloud. There were several comments from audience members on a facebook posting that expressed deep appreciation for the way Ronda helped others who deal with trauma.

I'm not suggesting that you run out and find an audience to listen to a poem, or prose, that you wrote about a difficult time in your life. But I do urge you write about your feelings, whether it be in a private journal or something you hope to publish someday. 

It's not always easy to write this type of poetry or prose immediately after the trauma. Sometimes it takes years before you can do so. In my own case, losing two infants from totally different reasons made me want to share my story with others who might be going through the same kind of thing. And yet, it took me nearly 30 years before I could actually write about it. Once I started, I wrote many personal essays dealing with the loss of an infant. Several have been published and I hope with all my heart that they helped someone who read what I wrote. 

We're still experiencing great sadness over the Paris attacks. Those of you who may have visited Paris sometime in the past surely have some deep feelings about that city and what happened. Now is the time to write about it. If only for yourself but for others, too, if you care to share.