Connecting Emotionally with our Readers

23 May

I’m currently writing a reflective piece about a fifty-year friendship which is about to come to an end.

My best friend, Frank, is dying of spinal cancer.  I suspect he will be gone by this fall, and when he leaves me, a giant hole will appear in my heart.  That is in no way hyperbole.  It is very hard for me to even think about this without crying.  Frank has meant that much to me over the years, the brother I never had, a man who has been with me through most of the great, and horrible, events of my life.

And he is dying, and it hurts greatly to write about our relationship, but I want to finish it before he dies, so he can read it, so he will know how much I love him.

So I’m writing this piece, and I cry, and my throat constricts as the words arrive.  I can only do a couple paragraphs in each sitting because it is too emotionally draining for me.  I have only allowed myself to become “close” to a handful of people during my entire life.  I have closed off a part of my heart to protect myself from the pain of loss, but Frank is one of those who always held an important piece, and even writing that last sentence has me in tears.

What’s the point?


Well, we have many jobs, depending on the type of writer we are.  Writers of novels are, first and foremost, storytellers, and they must never forget that fact.  Non-fiction writers are fact-gatherers and fact-sharers.

Underlining all of the types of writing is this important fact:  we all share the same five senses, and a good writer, one who really wants to connect with his/her readers, will always remember those five senses.  It is my job, as a writer, to make a scene come alive.  I am the ears, the nose, the throat, the eyes, and the fingers of my readers, and if I’ve done my job properly they will feel as though they are in my scenes.

With regards to my reflective piece about Frank, if I’ve done my job, you, too, will mourn the loss of a quality human being, or you will be transported back to a time of great loss you experienced.

In this particular case, with this particular piece, it will be a painful experience, but one which must be written . . . sweet melancholy . . . a painful celebration . . .

Thank you!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

27 Responses to “Connecting Emotionally with our Readers”

  1. Janine Huldie May 23, 2017 at 2:04 pm #

    Oh Bill, I am truly sorry to hear about your friend, Frank. I have no words and just a senseless tragedy in all honesty. My thoughts and prayers to you, your friend and his family at this time. Thinking of you now more than ever ❤

    • Billybuc May 23, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

      Thank you Janine! This one hurts for sure. 🙂 I appreciate your kind words.

  2. Linda Lum May 23, 2017 at 3:01 pm #

    Bill, losing someone you love to this horrible disease is one of the hardest hurts, for you see them disappearing not all at once but molecule by molecule, each day being robbed of a bit more of themselves. My heart aches for you–please know you and your Frank will be in my prayers.

    • Billybuc May 23, 2017 at 3:27 pm #

      Thank you Linda!

      that’s the problem with loving . . . there is pain involved, unfortunately.

  3. denisewa58 May 23, 2017 at 3:25 pm #

    Loosing someone you love can be traumatic, no matter when it is! Having them leave and not be in your presence anymore is a loss of tremendous proportions. We said goodbye to a dear friend just this last week, and I find myself wandering around wondering what to do with myself. Then, I stop and think that I could go see her and I have to tell myself, “Oh, yeah, she’s gone.”

    • Billybuc May 23, 2017 at 3:28 pm #

      Exactly, Denise…I know that’s exactly what it will be like with Frank…that’s how it was with my dad after he died…thank you for understanding.

  4. Sally Gulbrandsen May 23, 2017 at 3:31 pm #

    Sorry to hear that you are having to deal with the impending loss of a dear friend Billy. I am glad that Frank will learn how much you mean to him as I am sure you do to him. May you both enjoy the little time which you can still have together.

    • Billybuc May 23, 2017 at 3:35 pm #

      Thank you very much, Sally! I plan on savoring the time remaining.

  5. Sageleaf May 23, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

    Oh, Big Bro. First, I’m sending you great big hugs! And now I know the guy in that photo that you always share. Frank. Yes…write about him and your friendship. It will be cathartic and will help the healing process for you and it will help him to know that before he leaves this earthly world, he understands how he touched your life – there is hardly a greater gift than the knowledge that we have touched someone and quite possibly changed the course of their life – for the better.
    Life is ephemeral. There is nothing glorious about suffering the loss of a loved one: Someone who fills our hearts with the secret formula that equates to the person we have chosen to let in. The person who fills our cup and knows us for exactly who we are.
    I’m sorry for both of you. But, try not to feel too much of the sorrow, but to celebrate the joy in having known this great human. Easier said than done, to be sure. Much easier.
    Sigh…I’m sending you light in this moment. And hugs. More hugs.

    • Billybuc May 23, 2017 at 4:32 pm #

      You are a doll, Lil Sis, and I hope you know how much I care about you. Thank you…this too shall pass….but his memory will always be with me, and there is comfort in that.

      Thank you for the hugs…greatly appreciated, dear friend.

  6. Michael Milec May 24, 2017 at 1:15 am #

    Keep hope at the same level, my friend. Celebrate the life’s every moment together with Frank knowing inevitable, when measured time is up one after another we have to leave. Those close to our heart remain with us in memories till our last on earth “see you again” becomes reality on other side of The Jordan River.

    • Billybuc May 24, 2017 at 11:38 pm #

      I will do that, Michael my friend. I will celebrate the times together and let that give me happiness.

      Peace, my friend.

  7. suziehq May 24, 2017 at 8:34 am #

    What a tough post to do but how wonderful for you to write it and for Frank to read his best buddy’s words. An amazing friendship you two shared. xxxxxxx

    • Billybuc May 24, 2017 at 11:38 pm #

      it really was an amazing friendship, Irish. I am a lucky man.

  8. phoenix2327 May 24, 2017 at 8:43 am #

    Bill, I can’t find the right words to express how sorry I am. Maybe those words don’t exist, so sorry will have to do. I lost both my mother and father-in law, the only real parents I really had. It hurt then. It hurts now. It always will. I expect it will be the same with you.

    Dealing with grief is personal and no one can tell you how to do it. We have to find our own path to healing. Your way is to share your sorrow and draw your strength from those who care about you. I admire that. I’m not that brave.

    My thoughts are with you, Bill. Sending you much love and hugs from Blighty.

    • Billybuc May 24, 2017 at 11:39 pm #

      Zulma, that was beautiful and I thank you for it. There are no words, as you said, but it is a comfort knowing that others care about what I’m going through. A great comfort for sure.

      Thank you…love and hugs coming your way.

  9. Andrea Stephenson May 25, 2017 at 7:38 pm #

    I’m very sorry to hear about Frank, but you did move me with your words.

    • Billybuc May 25, 2017 at 8:18 pm #

      Thank you Andrea…I appreciate that very much.

  10. Christy B May 26, 2017 at 5:51 pm #

    Oh Bill, sweet Bill, I’m sorry to read about Frank… It sounds like you have been so fortunate to have one another… And you do honor him so well with your words here, which you are so smart to write now for him to be able to read it.. Crying a natural process, do not hide or hold back the tears.. Gentle hugs from BC to you

    • Billybuc May 26, 2017 at 8:12 pm #

      Christy, your kindness, and the kindness of other online friends, is invaluable to me. I had no idea when I first went online six years ago with my writing that I would become friends with such quality human beings. Thank you for being who you are, my dear.

  11. Mike May 27, 2017 at 6:20 pm #

    Hello Bill – So sorry that your friend is going through this It is so fortunate that he does not have to go through it alone. Your friendship makes him stronger.

    • Billybuc May 28, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

      Thank you Mike! It’s hard but you know what? Nobody promised life would be easy. I will choose to celebrate Frank’s life and the time I could spend with him.

  12. Sarah Potter Writes May 30, 2017 at 10:35 am #

    Dearest Bill, somehow in my recent great state of disorganisation, I missed this most moving post. I’m so sad to hear about your friend, Frank. If you’re a person who does not spread yourself wide with deep friendships, your pain must be all the more intense. It sounds as if the friendship between you and Frank is based on what psychologists would call unconditional positive regard, meaning that love is constant and not withdrawn, however the other person behaves. In my mind, this is the deepest form of love and, sadly, rarer than it should be. If more people were capable of loving like this, the world would improve in leaps and bounds. So when Frank is not with you anymore, treasure the memory of your unconditional positive regard for one another and be glad that you have experienced it, as many people have not. Sending you and Frank lots of love and prayers. xox

    • Billybuc May 30, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

      That is very sweet of you, Sarah. You are a good person and I’m so happy we met each other. Yes, my friend, I will cherish Frank when this is over, and hold on tight to all the joy we shared.

      Again, thank you! Hugs and love heading your way.

  13. Melanie June 3, 2017 at 8:11 am #

    Oh Bill, you did good with this piece friend… you took my breath away and even though I don’t personally know Frank, my heart is sad when I read this. I’m sorry. He sounds like a wonderful human being, and I know – because these last few years I’ve come to know you, you seem to only surround yourself with genuine, honest, good people. Frank is lucky to have had you as a friend for half a century… that’s a lifetime! A lot of good memories, I’m sure. Thinking of you and sending you a huge virtual hug during this tough time xx

  14. Shauna L Bowling June 22, 2017 at 4:46 pm #

    Bill, what you’re doing for Frank is awesome. I’m sure he’ll love it. The piece you’re working on has several purposes:

    1. Illustrates how Frank has touched you – and others.
    2. Preserves his legacy.
    3. Helps you transition and ready for the end of his journey.
    4. Will bring you comfort as you go through your own journey of mourning

    Is this something you’ll share with your readers?

    • Billybuc June 22, 2017 at 5:20 pm #

      Thanks so much, Sha, and you are correct with all four items you listed…and yes, I’ll share it when I’m ready to do so. Right now I’m in a temporary stage of denial, but most of it is written and ready to publish whenever.

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