Self-Revelation in Fiction: How Much of Yourself Do You Give Away?
by Nhys Glover
During my year-long battle, with grief at the death of my elder son and breast cancer, I wrote and published my first book, a Past Life Fantasy/Inspirational novel called ‘The Labyrinth of Light’. I didn’t realise at the time that I was processing my real life experiences through the symbolic vehicle of fiction, or just how valuable that process was to my recovery.
My specialist, who was looking for a reason why I’d recovered so well (my cancer had taken off like wildfire after the death of my son and spread from one breast to both and into the lymphs in a matter of months,) pointed me in the right direction. His obvious interest in the novel I wrote got me curious enough that I started researching writing as a method of healing and came up with some fairly startling research that had only been published a few years earlier in the American Journal of Psychology.
Bottom Line: Certain kinds of writing can boost the immune system and assist with emotional/mental/physical healing.
Thomas Moore in his amazing books on the nature of the Soul talks about the Soul being like a shy doe that can’t be approached directly. If you want to work to heal your Soul (emotional self) you have to do it indirectly through imagination and creativity. Try to analyse the Soul with the left brain and you get nothing, or worse, you get misdirection or lies.
So, when I write I say I hand over to my Muse, but in a way I’m really handing over to my Soul so that it can voice its issues and concerns, and be heard. But what fascinates me about this process is not the self-expression aspect of the process – people have been Journaling for years and seeing the benefits. It’s the communication element – the being heard part – that is missing from the equation. There is something fundamentally important about sharing, but it is more than just being heard.
When we share our stories we touch other people. A friend said once that a good book stays with you for days or weeks afterwards, influencing how you see the world. So if writing can heal the writer, then it can also help to heal the reader. And that is a powerful tool to wield.
I write about powerful issues in my chick lit fiction. I write about the holocaust, slavery, abuse, death, catastrophe and war, but I write about it ‘lightly’ so that the experience is uplifting. And as I write I clear my Soul of its burdens and hopefully do the same for my readers.
When I started writing ‘The Way Home’ I was greatly challenged because I had to deal with my experiences with cancer to do it. The book took 7 years to write, as I kept putting it on the back burner. Finally I got it done, and it felt like more than a novel, it felt like a declaration of freedom. And almost immediately after it was published a reader wrote and told me that the book helped her to realise that she’d actually survived cancer.
That may sound a bit ‘duh’, but the realisation, the moment when you actually ‘get’ that you have survived, not as an intellectual understanding but as a soul-deep comprehension, is a powerful thing that can take years and years to get to. My little ghost story triggered something in that reader, which got her to that point after 16 years. So my healing helped her healing.
I believe that writers can use their skills to do more than tell stories for entertainment. They can bring to the surface little, well-hidden parts of themselves, and present them as gifts to the world. You don’t even have to know exactly what it is you’re communicating. That often comes later. I didn’t know that ‘The Way Home’ was a declaration that I’d survived cancer and was ready to really live again, until that reader mirrored it back to me.
So when you write, my advice is don’t try to work out your themes. Let them reveal themselves as you go along. It might surprise you, by the time you see your work in print, just what you’ve revealed about yourself as you wrote that werewolf fantasy.
Those who see the ghostly figure of the WWII fighter pilot in the English farmhouse garden at Grange End are destined to die within a week of that sighting. But when Cassie Grant not only sees the Polish flying ace in the garden but talks to him in her bedroom, it’s clear that something more than a prediction of death is at work here.
Hawk has been waiting for something at Grange End for nearly 70 years and from the first moment he sees the fragile beauty at the upper window he realises what it is – Cassie!
But is he there to accompany her to the other side when her time is up or is his increasingly corporeal presence meant for something else? When the enemy of the past becomes the enemy of the present, Hawk is determined to save Cassie from her untimely death, even if he has to cross the boundaries between Life and Afterlife to do it.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Historical Romance
Rating – PG
More details about the author