Friday, August 31, 2007

Write What You....

You thought "know", right? Wrong. I know we always hear that phrase, "Just write what you know." I think it goes beyond that. As a writer, we must dig deep into our very soul and write what we feel.

If you only write what you know, then you might write about baking, crafts, fishing, singing, teaching...

But if you write about what you feel,you'll draw your readers in and inspire them to stay awhile.

It's not as hard as you think. Here are some examples:

You might be walking down the street and have your heart ripped out by a small child living in poverty. As you look into their dull, sunken eyes that are pleading for you to help them, you see their sadness, their hunger, their desire to literally go home with you--home, something they don't have. Do you feel that?

Or you may walk through a hospital to visit a new baby in the family. But as you glance through a door while traipsing down the long hallway, you don't see what you expected to see. Your eyes fill with tears. You're not seeing an old person that has lived a good 90 years, but a toddler who's hair has all but fallen out, whose angelic face is pale, whose lips are dried and cracked until it hurts. Do you feel that?

You're on vacation. You have money, nice, clean clothes, a full tummy (from the expensive restaurant you just had to try out), and a fabulous hotel room with an over sized, luxurious bed awaiting your tired body.

As you drive around, just curious about this town and everyone in it, you see movement out of the corner of your eye. Looking back, you notice a gaunt, weathered lady and her small frail child digging in the dumpster for tonight's meal. Do you feel their poverty? Their pain? Their loneliness? Their shame?

Write what you feel...write with your heart...write with empathy, sympathy, compassion, humanity... Write what is raw, what is real, what is uncomfortable, what is frowned upon, what is neglected, what is unseen... Write about the unheard voices, the cries in the night... Write what no one else will. And then find a way to do something about it. Anything. A hot meal, a few dollars, maybe you could rent a hotel room for someone, for just one night. Maybe you could bake a casserole, donate blankets/clothes/shoes to someone.

I ,personally, like to hand deliver.