Real People, Real Authors, Real Pain, Real Love

I’m working on my next book. I’m through the first draft. I have to admit it’s been painful. Not because of the writing process but because of the subject it deals with – domestic abuse. When you’re writing something you actually have to spend some time thinking about it. I don’t like thinking about abuse in any way, shape or form. I don’t happen to live in that world so I’m isolated from it and it’s easy not to think about it. But as a writer, you have no choice.
My heart feels your pain
When you’re a writer you can’t help but put yourself in the place of your characters. You may even come to view them as friends or even your own children. Seeing them in pain is hurts you. Even though you know your story is fictional, you feel the pain just as deeply as your characters feel. Just as when I wrote my first book, The Rose Stone, where I felt the pain of a daughter dealing with addiction and suicidal thoughts, I’m now feeling the pain of an abused woman. What I find most sad it that I know that my ‘Fiction’ is a very real fact of many women’s lives.

One of the things that nearly frightens me is the question of how do I know what I know about domestic abuse. I’m 56 years old. I’ve been around for a while but I’ve never been involved in the lives of domestic abuse victims. How can I then write about these things and have people tell me “you just wrote my life”? I have to ask myself where did I learn about this? My honest answer is: I don’t know. Tucked somewhere in repressed regions of my mind I’ve not know of what it is but also how it happens. Because I’m a writer/story teller I can see things happen in vivid detail as if I stood and watched it happen. What is it in me that allows me to do that? I don’t like it. It hurts too badly.

When I write about these things, abuse, addiction, etc., I often find myself in tears. I feel the pain my character is going through. Then I want to run out and “fix” it. Sure, I can fix it in the story but the problem is, I know for many many people the hurt is too real. Have you ever felt like that? Where you see someone in pain and you want to do everything you can to “fix it”? But I already know I can’t fix it. That isn’t within my skill set.

However, I’ve come to realize that I can help. My skill are in telling a story. Through my stories perhaps I can raise awareness so that maybe it will be better for someone. When I wrote “The Rose Stone” Celebrate Recovery played a big part in the story. I now have a special place in my heart not only for the group and what it does, but also for the individual people in it. My own eyes have been opened if only because I had to think about things as I wrote the book. I talked to people and asked questions. I became aware. But I’ve found that isn’t just me that my stories touch. Many more people have become aware of Celebrate Recovery simply because I told a story. Making people aware of what can help with their struggles or someone they love is, in a way, a way to “fix it”. My prayer is that even though I don’t like thinking about some things, that God will make some good will come of it. Could I ask for more?

I’m still working on the book about abuse. It’s title will be “The Release”. I expect it to be available sometime in the summer of 2017. The Rose Stone is expected to be release the first week in January however (!) the audiobook is already available. You can listen to it here: The Rose Stone

Ralph Nelson Willett

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