On writing about loss and dark times

I am revising (revisiting is probably the better word) a short story I wrote, then set aside to percolate or brew in a dusty drawer.

It’s a semi-autobiographical story about childhood loss which I found difficult to write because writing about my father in particular,is always difficult.  Mostly he was an absent parent.  The kind of parent who would flit in and out of our lives like a shadow.  For the longest time he reminded me of  a Tomcat and in reality he was very much like one; always on the prowl.  He never did get to find what he was looking for, perhaps because he went looking for ‘it’ in all the wrong places.

I never got to ask him what he was looking for.  He died before I got the chance to really know him.  I like to think  he was looking for something deep and meaningful like peace or self-acceptance.   

Only recently have I come to realize that I write not only for pleasure but also for healing.   I write to draw out the monsters from under the bed.   It takes courage I think to write about our dark times but also a willingness to see things differently.  In writing about my father I have kept him alive all these years and in revisiting the places he took us to and reliving the things we did together I believe I have got to understand him better and the choices he made.  

How do you feel about your writing?  Do you feel it is healing? Enlightening?





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