Feel Me!

5 Mar

I was talking to my best friend yesterday.  Frank came up from Oregon for a visit, so he and I spent yesterday just hanging out and reminiscing, as old men have a habit of doing.

Frank has been my best friend since high school. We were college roommates.  We think alike, look alike, and act alike.  It’s a bit freaky, truth be told, but it’s also very cool, that kind of deep bond with another human being.

So we were talking about our childhoods, and we were marveling at just how normal our childhoods were. Our parents may not have been perfect, but by God they knew how to raise children.  There was dysfunction in our families, for sure, but our overriding memories of those years are good memories, and you better believe we are both very grateful.

I bring that up, on a writing site, because it is part of the marvel that is creative writing.  I have no dark memories from childhood. I was not molested, I did not suffer emotional abuse . . . there was nothing of the sort.   I played ball, I had friends, I goofed around, I got average grades, and I was loved.  Yes, I experienced darkness during my adult years, because of alcoholism, but the years prior to that were sunshine and chocolate chip cookies.

And yet I am able to find empathy for those who have suffered. I have found compassion for those who have led much harder lives than I have. I am able to understand what they feel, and my characters reflect that understanding.

I have never been in the military, but I have an understanding of the experience. I have never been in a truly violent situation, but I can imagine what it must be like.  I have never owned a gun, never will, but I write about them all the time and I’ve been told my writing is believable.

I guess, what I’m saying, is you do not have to experience that which you write about.  Human emotions are transferable for those who simply observe and are accepting.  Pain is pain is pain, no matter the source.  Elation is elation is elation, and loss is loss is loss.  I was watching an interview with an actress, and she was explaining how she is able to cry during some scenes and emit such believable angst. She said she simply remembers moments in her life which were especially traumatic, for her, and transfers those feelings into her acting. I can relate to that easily having held my dying father, a man I loved greatly, when I was twenty.

Tap into it all when you are writing. Somewhere you will find inspiration if you welcome it with open arms!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

24 Responses to “Feel Me!”

  1. Janine Huldie March 5, 2019 at 3:10 pm #

    Truly love how you were reminiscing with your friend and what you came out of this walk down memory lane with. I will say that I do quite a bit of that when I can nowadays, too. Something will set me off like yesterday’s news of the passing of one of my teen TV crushes. As crazy as it sounds made me stop in my tracks to realize how lucky I am and not to take anything for granted. But still, even if I haven’t so much as suffered to get where I am in the present drawing upon the riches of what others have gone through is indeed a writer’s prerogative. So, thank you for the reminder here today. Happy Tuesday once again!! 🙂

    • Billybuc March 5, 2019 at 5:40 pm #

      Janine, I don’t think you were alone yesterday. It surprised me, first of all, that Luke Perry was 52. Then it surprised me that he died so suddenly. Life is precious, my friend. I am fully aware of that in my seventieth year.

  2. divalounger March 5, 2019 at 3:24 pm #

    I have friends like that and am so grateful–it sounds like you are too–Bill you are so lucky to have had a normal, happy childhood–so many others did not, and yet, we manage to live out lives in ways that I alllow for empathy. I wonder if all writers are natural empaths–we step deep into the lives of others as we create their worlds. I think you are a master at this–

    • Billybuc March 5, 2019 at 5:41 pm #

      That is very kind of you, Audrey…a master? I don’t know, but I do know I feel deeply for others and I have no doubt that has helped me with my writing.

  3. 1authorcygnetbrown March 5, 2019 at 4:24 pm #

    I think the word here is “empathy”. I think fiction writers might have it more than other people. What do you think?

    • Billybuc March 5, 2019 at 5:41 pm #

      I believe that is true, Donna. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me.

  4. Susan Zutautas March 5, 2019 at 4:59 pm #

    Great post Bill. I had a horrible childhood but got through it. It was all bad but a lot of it was.

    • Billybuc March 5, 2019 at 5:42 pm #

      I have great admiration, Susan, for anyone who can rise above a horrible childhood. Thank you for sharing that.

  5. Lawrence Hebb March 5, 2019 at 6:22 pm #

    So true. They say a wise man learns from his mistakes, but I’ve always quietly said “he also learns from others mistakes!” It’s probably why I love history so much.

    • Billybuc March 5, 2019 at 6:23 pm #

      Truth, Lawrence. One can learn a great deal by being quiet and just observing.

  6. Shannon Henry March 5, 2019 at 6:31 pm #

    Your advice is spot on. That’s the fun part about creative writing- feelings are feelings and the creative part is in figuring out how to make the reader feel those feelings too or at the very least, make the reader understand what the character is feeling. Personally, I think empathy is much better than sympathy when it comes to reading something.

    • Billybuc March 6, 2019 at 2:42 pm #

      I like that, Shannon…empathy better than sympathy. I would agree with that summation.

  7. marlenebertrand March 5, 2019 at 8:45 pm #

    What’s interesting is that you write insanely dark episodes with the most unworthy characters, yet your personal life has been spared most, if not all of the anguishing stories told in your novels. I am always amazed at what you direct your pen to write.

    • Billybuc March 6, 2019 at 2:42 pm #

      You are too kind, Marlene, but thank you! I have no clue how I do “dark” so well….it should frighten me. lol

  8. Sageleaf March 6, 2019 at 1:33 am #

    …and you totally made me think of Gertrude Stein:
    Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
    Loveliness extreme.
    Extra gaiters,
    Loveliness extreme.
    Sweetest ice-cream.
    Pages ages page ages page ages.

    Ah…your writing has this effect on people. You have a way with words, my friend!
    And I *love* “my life was sunshine and chocolate chip cookies” – you just painted a quintessential childhood experience. 🙂
    You’re an incredible human, my friend. You’ve done things. Great things. I’m proud to call you friend. 🙂
    Sending hugs from the icebox of the Appalachians…

    • Billybuc March 6, 2019 at 2:43 pm #

      Look at you, Lil Sis, sending me all this love and kindness. Thank you dear friend. I’m just giving back what was freely given to me.

      Hugs and love heading your way

  9. explorereikiworld March 6, 2019 at 2:49 am #

    Memories can either haunt us or make us feel loved. Ultimately, it’s upto us!
    I am glad you and your friend could hang out and reminiscence those ‘old’ days 🙂

    • Billybuc March 6, 2019 at 2:43 pm #

      Thank you Ruchira! It’s always nice having you visit.

  10. Mike March 7, 2019 at 1:50 pm #

    Hello Bill – It has always been a mystery as to how people had friends for decades. As a military brat, as we are referred to, friendships cane to an abrupt end every couple of years. There were a few sunshine and chocolate chip years, age 36 to 46 were pretty good. Keep writing.

    • Billybuc March 7, 2019 at 2:33 pm #

      Well heck Mike, at least you had ten good years. 🙂 I can’t imagine being a military brat, always moving.

  11. Shell Vera April 22, 2019 at 9:50 pm #

    I love that you mention you don’t have to go through it to write about it. One of my favorite emotional pieces is one I wrote about a devasation I never experienced personally but had been told about through others and tapped into how they felt. It is one of my most powerful pieces on forgiveness and the power of family.

    • Billybuc April 23, 2019 at 1:41 pm #

      I’ve changed my feelings on this topic over the years, Shell. I now believe a talented writer can write about nearly any subject.

      • Shell Vera April 23, 2019 at 1:57 pm #

        I believe it’s all about connecting and engaging with people and topics. I don’t have to have lived in Africa or have been a child of a mother who didn’t feed me to identify with what it feels like to be hungry. But I have to have connected with the topic or someone who has experienced it enough that I can place myself there. Really enjoyed this one!

      • Billybuc April 23, 2019 at 4:21 pm #

        I completely agree, my friend. Thank you for your eloquent summation….empathy goes a long way in writing.

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