Opening a Vein

There’s nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.  ~Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith

I always thought the above was a silly, though poetic thought. If a story really does mean that much to a writer, why are so many books barely adequate? They tell a story, but have no depth, demand no blood in response, give no transfusion.

Even from a writer’s point of view, the idea seems rather overblown. Writing is more of an intellectual activity, at least it always has been for me. But not with this NaNoWriMo project, my grieving woman book. For the first time, I understand the sentiment. I feel as if I am opening a vein while writing the story. Or at least picking at scabs. I thought I was moving right along with my grief, handling it well, but yesterday while writing I hit too close to the truth.

I worried about doing this project, wondering if it was too soon to re-immerse myself into the world of grief, even if only through fictional characters, but I jumped in with both feet. And now here I am, crying again.

I have a hunch that the only way out of this writing dilemma is through, so I’ll continue to open my vein of grief. As Ray Bradbury said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

These are the final words of the scene that destroyed my equilibrium:

“Do you need some liquid morphine?” Amanda asked.

David looked up at her. “Is it time?”

“You can have the liquid whenever you want it.”

“I don’t want to go to Hollywood and be an actor.

An actor? Amanda tried to decipher his words. His mind seemed to take convoluted paths when the simpler words wouldn’t come. Then all at once she understood. “You won’t become a drug addict. I promise.” She left the second part of her thought unspoken. You won’t live long enough to become addicted.

2 Responses to “Opening a Vein”

  1. Carol Ann Hoel Says:

    Those lines opened a vein for me. My husband Bill suffered pain for four years, but the last few months and then weeks and days were so hard that I had to let go. I was his caregiver. The giver of morphine. I had forgotten. He died 14 years ago. Guess that tells you that grief doesn’t completely go away, but it gets tucked away where most of the time it doesn’t hurt. And that works. Blessings…

  2. joylene Says:

    I think jumping in with both feet makes perfect sense. It may also be the best therapy available. On a personal note, it has always worked for me. Another valuable blog, Pat. Thank you for sharing.


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