Writing in Times of Stress

I’m going to make a confession.  I’m a political animal.

London Bridge Station
London Bridge Underground sign. Attrib Wikimedia.

The #LondonBridge terrorist attack last night has overset me even more than the Manchester incident two weeks ago.  The cumulative effect of three incidents, I think.  Unable to sleep last night, my brain is all mush.  At five in the morning, I was full of outrage and hurt and at breakfast-time I could hardly put together a Facebook message to my son (who lives in Deptford).  And, no, I had no real reason to be worried about him, but you do, don’t you?  However, during the course of the day, I’ve been to church and done ordinary everyday things like cooking and putting up sticks for my runner beans.  Practical tasks help.  Otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this.

I read a newspaper every day and I have political opinions..  Many of my stories, and most of my putative novels, have had a political slant.  I’m calling them ‘historical’ because they relate to times gone by, although they are not really, as the official definition of historical fiction requires that fifty-plus years of water must have passed under the bridge.  Some feature very recent events, like Tomatoes and Their Role in Brexit, my latest story on Alfie Dog Fiction.  For each work, I’ve tried to achieve historical accuracy and reflect the thoughts and opinions of the times, also factors like weather.  Do you remember how it rained cats and dogs in the lead-up to the EU Referendum last year?

I know writers who write to comfort themselves, to work themselves through bad periods in their lives.  Many have written their best work whilst under intense stress – the World War 1 poets, for instance  – but I can’t do it.  I need a little time in which to reflect and consolidate, to deal with the emotion.

I’m trying very hard to carry on, as per the previous post.  It’s hard.  But right now I’m watching the News on television and hearing about the people who were there have had to deal with.  I shall carry on.  I shall write.

London Bridge will not fall down.

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6 thoughts on “Writing in Times of Stress

  1. It’s always more affecting when it’s nearer to you in terms of connections – though I know you have a connection with Manchester too you have a loved one in London and it brings it home. We shop now and then at a supermarket where one of the youngsters who died in Manchester worked, an 18 year old young woman, in the same village the 8 year old little girl went to school, who also died. We were there the weekend before last and the sight tof all the ribbons on gateposts and fences and shops and everywhere brought tears to my eyes. And as for the bank of flowers outside the school … It is a beautiful way of showing sympathy and compassion, but I also wonder how it must feel when the rain has made them bedraggled and they must be cut down. One more step to take in the journey of grief. So awful.

    1. Yes, I know what you mean about bedraggled flowers. Soggy teddy bears are the worst. Much better to give money to the appeal.

    1. Yes, we must use all experiences in our writing, our responses and emotions, and those of others. It just seemed a bit tactless to say so in this post!

  2. You are absolutely right, Sue. What an idiot I am! And I ought to know, seeing as I used to drive past the Tower twice a weekend in the 1990s. I will change it.

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