Well, this is embarrassing. After going through ATEB folders in my email inbox, I discovered that the following guest contribution from S.C. Torrington for our September Harvesting Ideas monthly theme was never posted.
Major face palm smack.
My deepest, deepest apologies for letting your great submission slip through the cracks, S.C.! I hope you’re not mad … which is a horrible pun to make, but considering your topic, I just couldn’t help myself. The next time you submit, we’ll post it lickety-split!
Write Away Your Anger
By S.C. Torrington
I have alotta anger. Not so much about man’s inhumanity to man, but the personal slights, discourtesies, and insults I’ve experienced over the years. The guy who let the convenience store door slam in my face, the pet owner who didn’t pick up his dog’s poop off my front lawn, or the classmate in second grade who called me “fat.” That’s what makes me mad. And that’s what I use in my writing.
Strong stories come from strong emotions. And while we’ve all had moments of great joy and happiness, it’s often the moments of disappointment and hurt that are easier to recall. So, instead of letting those negative feelings create doubt and stifle your creativity, transform them into prose. Not as a pointless rant, but as a lesson learned, a positive spin, or even an overdue comeuppance.
Readers love a loser. Most have experienced not making the team, winning the prize, or getting the girl. It’s easier to relate to characters in situations similar to our own versus a prom queen’s quandary over lipstick colors. Kids take comfort in realizing adults were once awkward or sensitive children. And that even as grown-ups, they still don’t control every situation, still get their toes stepped on, and their feelings hurt. Let your stories share that.
Think about the last experience that raised your hackles, your worst day of middle school, or the first time you cried yourself to sleep. Spit it out, twist it, turn it into a tale we can feel. Give it a happy ending if you must. But use whatever anger you carry in your craw to enhance, not erode, your work. You’ll feel better, too.
S. C. Torrington has lived in Maryland all her life and has two sons, 20 years apart. She used to be in the film business. Then, for a decade or so, she lived as a parenting magazine associate editor and homeschooling mom. In 2011, she moved to the ocean, quit her j-o-b, and took a permanent Creative Sabbatical.