Wednesday, October 3, 2018

October IWSG

Is time speeding up? It seems like just days ago I was typing up September's post for the IWSG. A huge thanks to our host, Alex Cavanaugh, and his co-hosts this month: Dolorah @ Book Lover, Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, and Chemist Ken! Co-hosting does take time, but besides seeing lots of interesting posts, you will get valuable traffic on you website, so consider volunteering. 

This week's optional question: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?


Distracted Writer Here...Please Hold

Hmm... First I gotta think about what major life events might have occurred while I was writing. There have been illnesses, a move, trips, and various milestones. Honestly, if something comes along that demands my time and attention, writing is kicked to the corner. Characters must wait, zip their lips, cross their knees, whatever...until the crisis in "real world" has passed. It may feel unfair, but I'm not the breadwinner in this household, and thank goodness. I'd make more money collecting loose change off the asphalt of parking lots.

Image: DanDucharme

The doctor will see you now...trot this way.

On another level, do major life events color my writing? Well, yes. I live with a bunch of zebras. No, not the huge black-and-white striped variety, but medical zebras. You see, if something goes wrong, doctors (and vets) have been cautioned to consider common diagnoses before the more rare and unlikely possibilities with the saying, "When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses, not zebras."

I won't spew out all our medical maladies, since many in my family probably want their privacy, but for example: my husband's splitting headache and vision problems turned out to be a brain tumor (he is fine now.) Also, one of my cats distinguished herself by being the first feline my vet had ever seen with kidney stones after practicing for 24 years.

The idea of a common malady turning out to be something incredibly serious has shown up in my writing more than once. I love stories that start off with characters and situations that seem completely normal and relatable and then take six left turns into the bizarre, terrifying, or supernatural. It's so less fun when it happens in real life though. 

Dire Troll Mauler
Image: Matt Cole

Me, taking a too long break from writing:

Clean your room, do your homework, eat your veggies! Or else!

Has writing helped me through something? I know I am a happier person when I write. Without that creative outlet my alter ego, Grouchy Greta, can take over and make life for me and those unfortunate souls who live in my house quite miserable.

How do you feel when circumstances separate you from writing?


  1. Grouchy Greta; now there is a Sesame Street character inspiration!

    Life can be stranger than fiction. Ugh.

  2. I hear you about the medical zebras. At least in our stories, we can control the ending :-) Happy IWSG day!

    Ronel visiting on Insecure Writer's Support Group day: Course Correction

  3. At least someone was considering zebras and caught those issues.

  4. I was just thinking about that horses/zebras phrase the other day! For most people, the adage works - and it stinks it doesn't for your family! - but it's good you know to look for those zebras, to push for extra medical attention, tests etc.

  5. Grouchy Greta is such a great name. I agree with Dolorah about Sesame Street!
    I am happier when writing too so I don't understand why I seem to have so much trouble doing it lately.

  6. Your husband's brain tumor must've been traumatic. I'm happy to hear all is better. And then your poor cat...

    I hope Grouchy Greta will be appeased as soon as you sit down to write a few words.

  7. What a blessing your husband is all right now.
    I'm happy when I'm creating something, writing or music.

  8. Glad to hear your hubby is okay!

  9. Writing is first until I'm in an emergency situation, and then it's tucked away until I can focus on it again. Here's to continued good health for your family.

  10. Like you say, really major attention diverting crises are not conducive to writing for me and I don't see how they could be for anyone else. I find that states such as sadness or isolation--times when I'm left alone with a lot of time and thoughts--lead me to write in order to get on a more positive track and sort out my feelings.

    Writing can lead me out of the unhappiness which if I get too happy and involved in life then I drift away from writing to enjoy life.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  11. The guilt trips, oh the guilt! It's never ending when I'm not writing. Life events have made it impossible for me to write--even good events, like travel and vacations.

    I wish I was better at squeezing everything in and multitasking, but the truth is, I'm just not.

    I've had a few medical zebras myself. I feel your pain. Hope all is well now.

  12. Glad your husband is okay. I totally understand those times when writing must take a back seat because of family health issues and other life challenges. I'm going through one right now.

  13. So much of life can push its way into our writing time and creative side. Glad your hubs is better!!

  14. Frankly, I’d rather have my zebra turn out to be a horse and feel silly than assume it’s a horse and find out it’s a zebra! My mother once had what she thought was indigestion and held off going to hospital till early the next morning. It was a heart attack. If she had assumed the worst immediately, her heart wouldn’t have been damaged. Years later, she’s on zillions of tablets a day. 🙁

  15. Thanks for co-hosting today, Tamara! I hope that you have had fun doing it. Life happens, and if something major demands my attention and I can't write, I am okay with it. It's the mundane, stupid stuff that gets in the way of my writing that turns me into "Grouchy Greta." I'm glad that your husband is okay. Brain tumors have claimed members of my family and my husband's. When it comes to equids, I'm fond of both horses and zebras, but my favorite is Hyracotherium, whose fossils I longed to find years ago on a dig with our science museum. (I didn't.) Have a good one!

  16. Those zebras! Don't you hate them?
    I found that I don't need to write to be happy but I need a story and characters cavorting in my head. If I don't, if my imagination doesn't stir for some reason, that makes me feel empty and really grouchy.

  17. I am definitely a happier person when I write. When I don't write, I too get grumpy. Hmm, I think I need an irate alter ego name as well. Maybe Fred Fury. For some reason, my irrational, hysterical alter ego is a dude... :-D

  18. I think there's a piece of Grouchy Greta in many of us. And yes, I'm much happier when I can devote some of my time to writing.

  19. I'm so glad to hear your husband is all right.

    Not writing makes me grumpy too. Worse than PMS.

  20. I'm glad your husband's health is now okay!

    It's always depressing and frustrating to not have access to my writing, to have average daily wordcounts in the toilet, or to be too ill or depressed to do much of any writing.

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