Can literature act as a preparation for life experiences?

 

Spoiler Alert Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

I vividly remember when I finished reading Charlotte’s Web in fourth grade. I cried when Charlotte died. Her loss left me in a strange place where I was contemplating death for days. I also remember the day my grandmother died. These two experiences are not the same. The loss of Charlotte did not prepare me for the loss of my grandmother. There is no book that can prepare you for some life experiences.

Literature supports in experiences we are going through or have gone through. When I thought of death without the real life experience of losing someone, the understanding felt distant. It was something foreign to me that I wanted to grasp without gaining it through my own experience. I was left with a world full of uncertainty and hugged my mom a little tighter after reading it.

Trying to prepare someone for a new experience is like describing what an orange tastes like to someone who’s never tasted an orange. We can explain how to eat it and that the peel isn’t the good part. We can even tell them the juicy fruity part is on the inside, but we can’t tell them if they will enjoy it or how much they will enjoy it. They may even find a different way to eat it than we taught them. That’s how I feel about literature. It can explain what to do and give some insight on how to do it, but an individual can not be prepared for how they will feel in new experiences using literature.

I do believe seeing how characters react to an experience can suggest the right thing to do and it may even give some insight on how someone else is feeling. I don’t think literature can prepare us for how we will feel going through our own life experiences. I do feel it can help readers learn to use understanding and empathy toward someone else’s experience by seeing the world from another characters point of view.

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Dear Lover

The life you desire doesn’t exist with me

It makes me sad I’m not the one for you

I’ve no desire to grow into something created for you

I’ve stepped away from the crowd

I spend nights on the outskirts of town

Contemplating the darkness within me

I’ve nothing to give but words on words

The only guarantee here is that the end is always near

The only promise I can give is that I will continue searching til my lids close and no longer open

Even then I hope the search continues

I’m not the one for you

I wasn’t placed on this planet for you

My place is separate and set apart from the rest

But I do hope to be wrapped up in you from time to time to ease the pains of constant shedding

But sometimes

I’m shedding you

-Saschia

She’s a Pretty Mistress

She wasn’t ugly

Not by far

Actually, she had a pretty face

A face you’d see in the mall

Maybe the girl across from you

buying panties and a bra

You know

the one you smile at and politely

say excuse me to

She looks like she could be

your favorite cashier

Or someone who got straight A’s

in highschool

She and I

We both felt that powerless sting

We both sat and wondered

What it is we did

to be left

Was it the sex

Was it something we said

Both forgotten

After so much effort

And of course

We should have known

I mean, we knew

We knew he wouldn’t stick around

And someday another woman

would come

Maybe the new girl will have

the same basic name as hers

Because it’s highly unlikely

to be the same as mine

in spelling at the least

But still

the powerlessness

It feels like bondage

And no

she and I

we do not compare

Maybe in another world

In another place

In another time

My face is no basic face

And my body meticulously sculpted

by babies

Some dead some alive

And so while we are connected

she and I

By the same

Powerlessness a man has brought to us

We are not one in the same

And I hope and pray

That I never make the same mistake

She did

Of falling for a married man

And acting on it

-Saschia

Question for fiction writers

I’m what is called a pantser like Stephen King. I don’t outline the story ahead of time. But I do take time to stop and think or journal on where I’d like my characters to end up. Anyhow, my two characters, a woman and a man, are growing in separate places right now. The guy’s growth is far more interesting than the woman’s. In real life this normal since women mature at a younger age than men, but in writing is this ok? Should I find more balance? Should I be more deliberate about her growth? My only concern is that she will be unrealistic if I am too deliberate. Or am I over thinking and this is how characters grow in fiction.

Fiction writers, do you find this or do this intentionally. Like, give another character more spotlight? Maybe it’s her slow growth that makes him more interesting and vibrant? I’d love to hear your strategies.

Follow Up Bad Guys -On Writing

“Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.” – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784), English Author, Poet, and Literary Critic and Writer

I had been thinking about the good guy vs the bad in a collection of short stories I’ve been working on, and I was reminded that in life no human is ever pure bad or pure good. What is most important when developing my characters is that I display my characters as their true selves. Whether they are good or bad doesn’t matter. As long as I display them as true as possible, they will make the choices themselves. The truth is we all teeter between being the good guy and the bad guy. And the gray area where we can’t seem to navigate is what makes us human.

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Bad Guys -On Writing

 

Quote Via https://www.decision-making-solutions.com/ethics_quotes.html

 

Doubt is a terrible thing -on writing

“Our doctrine is, that the author and the reader should move along together in full confidence with each other.”

Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers

This quote really hit the nail on the head for me. I need confidence in my writing so that my readers are confident in my writing. The feeling like need a reason to write has been making me lose confidence in my short stories, when the truth is, even if I don’t feel like I’m saying something, in just writing about my character’s day to day activities is, for me, finding beauty in the mundane. On that thought, I may think it’s mundane, but not everyone has lived the lifestyle my characters live. Maybe some dream of the monotony from their chaotic lives. Others may have lived similar lives and relate on a level that can’t be easily explained. So hopefully, this will be a reminder to me to go confidently into what I feel is the mundane story so that my readers will feel confident to walk the story with me.

What kind of things help you regain confidence in your writing?

Searching for a Story -On Writing

Writing everyday is getting easier. It’s finding what I want to say that is the challenge for me. I search and read and think and talk to people and then it hits me and I write about it until it loses it’s magic. Then I’m back where I started.

It’s not that I lack inspiration. I have overwhelming amounts of that. It’s more that I want to stand for something I believe deeply in.

How I’m feeling about my writing lately

I haven’t really been able to settle into a story I’m committed to. I’ve been jumping around different short stories hoping to find one I can snuggle into or one that makes me so uncomfortable I can’t help but think about it. I’ve been using my own life, the things I want in life, fictional ideas, etc. I just don’t really feel connected to any of them. It helps when I know what I want to say.

With all that being said, I write anyway.

Just for fun -On Writing

Today I was having a hard time focusing. So I decided to just have fun with my writing today. I didn’t focus on a concept, or a theme. I also did not try to root my focus on anything in the background while I wrote. I just wanted my characters to basically dance in the rain. I had my wild woman show her curious silly side and my male character show his playful flirty side. It felt good to let go of all the demands for a time.

What kind of things do you do to get the words out when you can’t focus?