I confess. I am an emotional writer. Worst still, it tends to be the negative emotions which send my fingers tapping out the most productive rhythms on my keyboard.
Anger certainly stimulates my creative juices. The memoir I completed earlier this year sprung out of my anger at my father when he died and left me his mess to clean up. As I walked through his house the day after his death and saw the accumulation of stuff, stuff I knew was there but hadn’t paid attention to, I became furious with him. He had had over thirty years to do something about it but never had. My anger turned into a profusion of words and, four years later, a memoir. I have to admit it became almost impossible to write the number of words I needed to as my anger faded over time and my knowledge of my father and his life increased. By the end of my memoir I had wrung the last drop of anger from my system and had made peace with my father in a way which never happened while he was alive.
Sadness and depression are two more emotions which ensure words will flow onto the page. The further I sink into the darkness, the more prolific I am. When I was younger, a teenager, I poured my sorrow into excruciatingly bad poetry. I cringe when I think of it. But at the time it served its purpose. This tossing of words onto a page is therapeutic, a better solution for me than any drug. Thank goodness I concentrate on prose nowadays instead of poetry.
But not all negative emotions spur me on. Hatred does nothing for me. I have tried to pour my hate onto a page but I cannot sustain it. Maybe I just don’t hate anyone enough. I usually decide not to use up energy on people who aren’t worthy of my time. Envy doesn’t work either. I have tried to maintain written resentment, but I can’t. Perhaps I’m content with my life. Or maybe I simply can’t see the point of owning too many material things. Fear does not motivate me. It could be because I am not often afraid. Although certain bumps in the night can raise my heart beat but I certainly don’t race out of bed to write about them.
Strangely enough, being happy does not make me want to write about it. I don’t know why. Maybe I simply like basking in happiness when it hits, like soaking in a hot bath, I just enjoy the moment while it lasts.
Although not an emotion, curiousity often leads me to devising plots and story lines and from there to writing a hesitant few lines, sometimes a chapter. But I have never ventured any further, never tried my hand at detective stories, I don’t have the confidence to pull one off but perhaps I should look at this as a challenge.