A Dark and Painful Crutch

Pain. Death. Darkness. The breaking of the world. That very human hurt.

It must be written, mustn’t it? One cannot be a writer, a real writer, and not touch the pain of life, the pain of reality. Oh, one needn’t write death, perhaps. One needn’t write the darkest or most shattered corners of the world. But no story is true without at least the little hurts, longings some time unfulfilled, weariness, confusion, frustration, ache, worry. Nerves. Fears.

Be it stories with worlds at stake, or lives, or loves, or simple tales of foolish people tangling in hilarious dramas before all is sorted out and set right, there must be pain.

And yet, I think, I too oft’ turn to it as a crutch.

It is harder, at least for me, to write a scene that is at once deep, and meaningful, and real, and glad.

Gladness. Lightness. Peace and sweetness. Hope and joy. Love unstained and undimmed smiles. These are all true things, are they not?

And yet, when I feel I must write deeply, I turn to pain, and breaking, and death, and darkness, because it is so easy to write deep hurt, and too easy to write trite mirth.

But why should ease direct my path? If I am to better myself, my writing, I must face the pure things, the gentle things, the happy springs and lazy summers, the laughing falls and playful winters, and find a way to grant them words, to wrap them into tales as powerful as any abuse or death or broken soul.

Because if I don’t, my tightly painted portraits of pain will fail in time. If I don’t, the skillfully wrought shattering of hearts can’t continue. All the darkness will turn to bland ash at my pen’s touch, for a writer who can write well of pain and only of pain will write it into the grave, will write monsters and victims and tears until all is a ghost of itself, a chain-rattling specter of a meaning once powerful.

My pen, in its attempt to dodge what is trite, may turn in on itself, until in trying to write an ocean of hurt, my tales turn instead into scum on pain’s pond: dark and putrid, but thin, touching only the surface, easily dispersed and quickly shaken off.

And because it is so hard for me, I am prouder of my soft vignettes than of my hard ones, more triumphant when I struggle through the telling of a happy shaft of light than of the oozing pools of earth’s blood. Not because the blood of the world is untrue, but because it is becoming, for me, a crutch.

For to write only half of the truth, after all, is to write a lie.


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