Friday, April 26, 2013

Dealing with Tragedy

Boston Marathon Finish Line.1910. Author: Unknown.
Boston Marathon Finish Line.1910. Author: Unknown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am a resident of Boston, MA, and have been since just after the blizzard of 1976. The recent, tragic, bombing at the Boston Marathon this past Monday reminds us all of the fragility of life.

It takes some time to process an incident like this, and I am still sorting things out.  I'll probably end up writing about it, since that's one of the ways I deal with grief.

Many years ago, a friend lost his wife and all four of his children in a house fire. He had been working on some renovations. Something caught fire during the night, and he alone survived.

I fell into fiction writing around 2005. Before that I'd only written poetry. The first few stories I wrote were for children, in part because I could make them shorter. Length intimidated me, especially as I tend to be terse. In any case, a few months after I started writing fiction, I sat down and wrote a 5000 word story about a boy who loses his mother in a house fire. Several years, many revisions, online classes, a writing partner, and the ICL course in writing for children, I had a publishable manuscript, The Angry Little Boy, which will be published by 4RV later this year.

The book was my way of coping with my friend's loss. While the boy in my book loses his mother, he and his father come through. We all pray the victims of Monday's bombing will do the same.
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  1. Writing is a way of getting at deeper pain and because we get to be the creator, of somehow treating it.

    We all bring our bones, our scars to writing even if we don't realize it. Prayers for all of Boston, I lived there two years during my stint as a graduate student (BC), I knew the streets they were going over block by block, I'd ridden on them on my bike, and the places blocked off were near my place of work. Hope all of you are healing as best and quickly as you can from the deliberate ugliness of those seized by rage.

  2. Sherry, thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your thoughts.

  3. Writing is an accepted therapy. My book Stolen was my way of dealing with the kidnapping of two of my grandchildren.

  4. Because tragedy influenced your writing, your words will speak from the heart.

  5. I was deeply affected by the 9/11/01 attacks and since I also lived in Boston (Kenmore) for a short but happy time, this recent incident awoke many difficult memories. Writing them out certainly helps to process them and find a perspective but the unanswerable question "why?" lingers after any tragedy, great or small, personal or very public. My heart goes out to all Bostonians. All New Yorkers understand how hard the process of taking back your city is.

  6. Peggy, Living in NYC, I do understand how frightening and unsettling it is to be attacked in your 'backyard.' My prayers are with all those affected by the tragedy.

  7. Thanks to everyone for stopping by. Karen, New Yorkers have had a lot to deal with, what with not only the 9/11 attacks, but the recent hurricane devastation. Here in Boston, we have a lot of healing to do, and my heart goes out to the many victims injured in the bombing and their loved ones.

  8. Margaret,
    I just saw your post here. I did not know you lived in Boston. This must have really hit home with you. I cannot imagine it being in my hometown. Writing is a therapeutic way of handling tragedy. It has helped me, and I will be anxious to celebrate with you when your book comes out, even though I am sure it was difficult to write.
    Thanks for sharing your experience.
    Megan V. (also from WM group)