Sunday, July 26, 2009

Writing as Catharsis

By Ginny Padgett

I think many writers benefit from the catharsis of writing. In fact, it’s probably a driving force for some. Recently, I made an interesting discovery about myself.

An upsetting incident presented itself to me; a dear family member was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. I couldn’t seem to tame the raw emotions that continued to wash over me. I hate being in that kind of emotional state and I wanted relief. My Muse spoke to me! Go write about it…in a POEM. I didn’t question the directive, but I was surprised because poetry is not my preferred writing genre.

I sat down at the computer and an hour later I had a poem I called “Elastic Love,” and I had left all the emotion on the page. I’m not saying how good it was, but it did the trick for me.

A few weeks later, another situation arose carrying the baggage of unpleasant emotion; a frustrating conversation with a friend who continually spouts a negative outlook. This time I didn’t hesitate. I felt a poem coming on. Again I had success…restored equilibrium and a poem I dubbed “Human Appliances.”

This is what surprises me. I don’t derive the same kind of catharsis from writing prose as I do poetry. I guess if I were to analyze this I could come up with a hypothesis to explain this phenomenon, but I don’t care. It works for me. I probably won’t submit these poems for publication, but I do enjoy reading them occasionally.

I am curious to know if you’ve discovered unexpected benefits from your own creative endeavors. Leave a comment.


Anonymous said...

I am working on an autobiography, that I am writing about myself, it is about my physically, sexually, psychlogically, abusive parents and my siblings and my time in the U S Army Special Forces, and my fifteen combat tours, the councelors, therapists, psychatrists tell me that telling people about my experiences is good for me

Courtney Diles said...

I know what you mean. I always find much greater emotional relief after writing poetry about a situation. Sometimes prose works for me too, but only when the emotions I'm writing about align with my own.

I'm an incoming freshman at the University of South Carolina and an SCWW Member. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone in Columbia.