There are certain things in life that most of us perceive as bad. Losing a job, the death of a loved one, a divorce. . . . When those things happen, our lives are often thrown off course and we’re not sure how we’ll recover or if we even will. We may become depressed and anxious, wondering what to do next. We had everything planned out and it all fell apart! We may temporarily go into shock and we grieve our loss. And, of course, some losses are more devastating than others. But, what happens next?
Time passes and we begin to recover or, at the very least, we adapt. My brother is fond of saying, “It is what it is,” and he’s right. We have to accept the hand we’ve been dealt. What happened will make us stronger and more compassionate people. But, for writers, it goes a step further. We can, and most likely will, use our experiences in our writing. They've become part of who we are and one way or the other they'll have an impact on our writing.
I read a short story years ago that made a lasting impression on me.
In Later, the main character was the father of a little girl. He was working from home one day and his daughter wanted him to go outside to play with her. He kept putting her off, eager to finish his work. “Later,” he kept telling her. And then he heard the sound of tires screeching. He ran outside and watched helplessly as a car careened down the street, hitting and killing his little girl.
The story brought tears to my eyes back then and the feelings the author evoked in me still give me chills! But, the most interesting part is that the author had never lost a child. He used the feelings he had when he lost a beloved pet. In other words, he used his own experience to write the story.
Have you ever read a story or a novel that made a lasting impression on you?