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Writing through Pain

Patricia Erikson

Those of you who know me have probably noticed that my blogging has slowed down lately. I write two blogs – this “Peaks Island Press” and “Heritage in Maine.” Virtually every printed word advising writers how to write well says “write every day!” “Don’t stop for anything!” My performance in this regard lately has been…FLAIL. I won’t argue against the advice that writers should stay in the flow of their writing, but I’ll confess that I just haven’t been able to do it, haven’t been able to write through my pain.

The source of my pain? I could shorthand it and call it “mortality” – that of my parents, in particular. I lost my mother to pancreatic cancer four years ago and it was as though the floor dropped out beneath me. But, as a mother, a wife, and a professional woman, I kept going and going and going…and going. But now, a few years and a 3500 mile move across the country later and my father’s precipitously declining health and loss of mobility and independence fills my life – often with anguish, sometimes with tenderness. Did I say fills my life? I should say it swamps my life. And yet I keep swimming, lifting my head to gulp air deeply as often as I can remember to try. And, I write to all of you even when I can’t move other writing projects forward.

Writing through pain – it’s good therapy, although not necessarily good writing. When I lost my mother, the pain seeped into an essay that has just now been published in Columbia Magazine at the Washington State History Museum. Check it out. It’s titled Objects of Pain, Objects of Power. I hope it touches you in some small way.

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7 Comments»

  Fran Houston wrote @

patricia.. this touches me deeply.. more than you could ever know.. thank you..

  patriciaerikson wrote @

Thank you Fran

  Michael Robinson wrote @

I’m really sorry to hear about your Mom’s death, your father’s declining health, and its effects upon you. My parents are both fragile now, and it is a subject of increasing concern for all of us. I can only imagine how much harder its been for you. I hope there’s a way through — hopefully with the writing as therapy rather than as obstacle. Hang in there Tricia.

  patriciaerikson wrote @

I didn’t realize your parents were having a hard time, too. All we can do is share…and be brave. Perhaps being superhuman wouldn’t hurt :)

  Rita Kissen wrote @

Patricia, your post and the article you wrote about saving objects moved me deeply. My mom died last October and I was able to donate her glasses to my ophthalmologist, who recycles them in third world countries. I found that giving her stuff away to people who could use it (especially her endless collection of yarn and fabric) was very healing I still have her eye glass case and now I use it myself. Thank you for your writing.

Rita Kissen, Peaks Island

  Anita Revah wrote @

Patricia,
I also lost my mom to pancreatic cancer almost 4 years ago. It was very traumatic at the time. I understand your the pain you feel. I own a house on Adams Street on the island and I’ll be there is summer. If you ever pass by please stop in for coffee.

[…] of that offends me. Instead, I like to feature the authors themselves and their writing process, sometimes even my own writer’s journey. What inspires us to write? How does writing fit into – or spill out of – our lives? […]


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