On Conflict

30 May

My grandmother nearly died at our family reunion yesterday, but did not want any medical attention. Three of her four children were present, along with five of her six grandchildren, her husband, and everyone who has either married into or been born into our family.

My grandmother is an incredible woman.

We all love her. We all express that love in different ways; we all feel passionately about caring for her in the ‘best way possible.’ We disagree on what the ‘best way possible’ actually is.

This sort of passion, and love—even with the best of intentions, and especially focused on issues of life or death—can lead to some intense conflict. It can be exhausting.

Perhaps it’s weird that, at the end of the day, my thoughts turned to my novel-in-progress. Or, perhaps it was just a way to think of something else. Whatever the reason, I drifted off to sleep with thoughts about the following:

My novel-in-progress: Emotion, and the various ways people express themselves, is at the heart of this new story I’m writing. I know that sounds übervague, since emotional expression is a huge part of any story, really—but I’m exploring it more heavily than usual for this idea.

As excited as I’ve been about this new project, it’s hard to start from scratch after investing so much in Speck Hawkins. Lots of my heart and soul went into that novel, and this new idea…well, so far, it’s just been a good idea to pursue.

Yesterday made it personal; themes and thoughts that were merely hypothetical somehow made their way into my real life. As exhausting as it was, now I know: my heart and soul WILL be in this new project. I feel more closely tied to it now. For a big idea like the one I’m exploring, I think I needed to have that connection in order to push past the rush of merely starting it.

On conflict, and writing it: I have decided the following are true: 1) conflict—especially the intense, exhausting sort—is not fun to experience, and 2) if you must experience it, at least that means you can come from an honest place when writing it.

Also: how odd is it that we writers put ourselves willingly into the position to create (and, therefore, experience vicariously through our characters) conflict on a daily basis, even though it’s such an exhausting thing to actually go through, you know? There must be something therapeutic to it.

I don’t usually tread into waters so personal here on the blog, but I know I’m hardly alone when it comes to family drama—I think it’s safe to say that any person, with a family or without one, has been affected by it at some point. Prayers for my grandmother’s health, and for any lingering tension certain family members might feel, would be greatly appreciated. ♥

5 Responses to “On Conflict”

  1. Alannah Murphy Monday / 30 May 11 at 3:58 am #

    It seems a lot of writers I know are going through a similar thing, in regards to emotions in their writing. Yes it is theraputic to put your feelings into a novel, I suppose it also makes the story real but at times, it is very painful to experience, I’m going through that now, as I still struggle with my first novel.

    Your grandmother sounds like an amazing woman, glad she’s still in your life. I only really knew one of my grandmothers, but she changed my world, she left this world about 14 years ago, but I will never forget her. Treasure every second you have with yours. I’m sure you do already.

  2. Megs Monday / 30 May 11 at 11:26 am #

    Praying for you! And your grandmother.

  3. bethmorey Tuesday / 31 May 11 at 8:49 am #

    Oh my goodness. Sending prayers…

  4. Kayla Olson Tuesday / 31 May 11 at 10:53 am #

    Thank you, you guys. 🙂 Saturday was a hard day, but things have improved since then and people (my grandmother included) seem to be doing better. ❤

  5. Linda Cassidy Lewis Tuesday / 31 May 11 at 2:07 pm #

    Sorry, I was mostly offline this weekend and just saw this. I’m glad to hear your grandmother is doing better and I hope that continues.

    As for writing conflict, yes, I think we do it to understand life … to better understand ourselves.

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