Since I’m all about helping writers find their voices to tell their most compelling stories, I want to share a story that happened over the weekend. As some of you know already, I’ve been single parenting already for three weekends in a row, and there is no end in sight.
But I’ve also found that these hurdles have a different voice.
I’m the kind of person who needs to process things emotionally and writing’s that door in, so I thought I’d share the personal along with a few writing tips. I know that from previous comments, there are many out there trying to navigate the online “muck” and still be true to themselves. Not an easy combination, I know. So here’s a few ways to blog about a difficult situation without revealing too much about yourself in a “literary” sort of way, if that makes any sense.
Writing tip #1: Use your powers of observation to capture what happens in a short chunk of time while paying attention to your own feelings.
Section #1 of my story
Just another day taking the bus with my son and my year old daughter.
He held the stroller without worrying about a seat. “Mommy, it’s much healthier to stand.”
We were lucky to find seats just the two of us. People kindly got up as I sandwiched my way to an empty seat in the front between two women, both on their headsets.
Ayala grabbed everything in sight and I was wondering if she would now grab the person’s cord or kick the person’s knee. I tried holding her as close as I could.
Writing tip #2: Offer your own emotional perspective while interlacing your observation. This is what we call takeaway points.
Section #2 of the story
Not everyone likes babies but on a bus, spaces and distances are slashed and proximity becomes an illusion.
It’s amazing how a baby immediately closes those spaces and distances.
“What an angel,” the woman on my left said. “You are just so unbelievably precious.”
I looked straight at my baby’s eyes. Her wondrous expression and soft skin. Her big brown eyes and impeccable irresistable smile that people can see from a mile away.
She reached out and grabbed Ayala’s stubby little finger. “You just want to grab everything in sight, don’t ya?” I nodded and laughed while making sure she wouldn’t topple over. She was moving a mile a minute.
Section #3 of the story
“You just want to get down, don’t you.”
“Uh-uh,” I said. “Yep. She does.”
Immediately, there was something calm about this person. I felt I could trust her.
“My daughter’s expecting. Baby’s due in December. They’ve got a name for the baby and everything. It’s a boy.”
“Oh. I know what that’s like. I went through that not too long ago,” I said with a smile. By now, I was feeling a bit calmer.
She continued to talk in the most gentlest and soothing of tones I’ve heard in quite a while. As more and more people descended from the bus, I could see the senior citizen across from me. He was motioning to Ivry to sit down, but he refused.
“No, put your stroller under the chair. It’s easier,” to which my son promptly obeyed. It was clear he didn’t enjoy standing sandwiched between all those people but he gave it all that he could. There was some relief on his face.
Suddenly, at that moment, I felt as if that person next to me, a complete stranger, was almost like a family member. I could easily invite her to sit around at our dining room table and have a Shabbat meal with us. She didn’t say very much, but there was something about her that was so peaceful, warm and calming that took me out of the chaos of my thoughts and helped me ride the wave of the moment.
Writing tip #4: Be real. Share the messy. Share the intimate. Share WHO YOU ARE. Be vulnerable.
In this crowded public places, I am always a mess, trying to keep it together and make sure everything goes smoothly.
I’m not a fan of crowded buses, but at that moment, I started to realize that we are all connected and a baby seems to bring the best out of all of us reminding me that at our essence, at our heart’s core, we are pure.
We are love.
We are kindness.
There is nothing to fear.
What writing tips can you share to help you write authentically about a difficult situation? I’d love to hear from you.
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