The Need to Add a Positive Spin

Hitting “publish” on that last post was tough. Here’s why.

Hitting ‘publish’ on the previous post was tough because it speaks of an unhappiness and for years I couldn’t write publicly about an unhappiness, not without hastening to add a positive spin.

I could speak about an unhappiness. I could write about it, too, but only in a journal or in a private exchange with a friend. Nothing public.

And while I think a good deal of the world could benefit from a dose of reticence, for a writer, this self-muzzling can turn into a huge creative block, what with a fence running the length of one’s life, posted “No hunting allowed!” What if there’s something worthwhile over there? Because, as my friend Diana points out, the detours are often where the story lies.

But I digress.

My Mom, I discovered late in her life when I was paying more attention, shared this inability to write anything negative. Seeing it in her taught me much.

I had always thought, in that way grown children have of knowing exactly what’s wrong with their parents and how to fix it, that if only Ma, who loved to write, could offload some of the negative, she’d feel a lot better.

I’d say, ”Ma, it’s okay if you’re in pain to say ‘ouch’!” and she’d look at me like I’d been raised by wolves. Golly, I miss that look now.

She simply couldn’t do it. There was an inner prohibition.

Sobriety was elusive. For Ma, I mean. It took a lot of years for her to cobble together a good chunk of clean days, which turned to weeks, which turned to months, years, decades. When she finally started to share her story and saw others acknowledge it, she saw the power in it.

But I digress again. This post isn’t about the power of story. It’s about the inner prohibition.

Back to what I started to say, hitting “publish” on that last post was a milestone.

The need to offer a positive spin is also a creative straitjacket. What’s the big rush to offer a positive spin, a redemptive arc? Isn’t it enough to hold fast to faith there is one, even if the details are still unknown? And to walk before all the witnesses to one’s life, free from thinking your story has no value until you can tie it up in a ribbon?

Bit of a ramble there. I wanted to tell you that backstory.

About Marilyn

Reading, thinking, listening, writing and talking about faith, creativity, ESL for refugees, grief and finding the story in a story. Student of Spanish. Foe of procrastination. Cheez-it fan. People person with hermit tendencies or vice-versa. Thank you so much for reading.
This entry was posted in courage, creativity, faith, shame, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Need to Add a Positive Spin

  1. sarahfarish says:

    Your story has no value until you can tie it up in a ribbon. I have thought this often. I can’t write about this or that because I have no ribbon. There’s no good ending. No redemptive arc. And isn’t that what readers want? The…it was so bad and now it’s so good and that can happen for you too? I am reconsidering…maybe readers want “it’s hard and still hard and I have no happy ending – YET. But, I am trusting for one!” Thanks for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pastordt says:

    OOOH, yes, yes. That pretty wrap-up will make everything okay, right? Not so much. I am so familiar with that way of thinking and I appreciate your back story here.

    GOOD FOR YOU for writing yesterday’s words, and for hitting post before the happy ending — though I am so sorry for the pain behind it all. Those words were important. And they were so well written, Marilyn. That one line just dropped the mic – Oh, how I pray there will be good, regular contact, dear friend. Oh, yes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. elizabethfstewart says:

    I think it’s when the hard things involve other people that I find it hard to write about it. And then there’s my inner pastor’s wife side that tells me my job is to suck it up, be tough, and encourage others. So many self made restrictions!

    Like

  4. I think that I too, suffer from this propensity! I have almost released myself from anxiety at others’ negativity and the compulsion to rescue a room from unpleasantness–and now I need to learn to free myself from continual personal “niceness” in my writing. It’s a fine balancing act and requires prayer I think. Oh my! Thanks Marilyn. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Marilyn,
    Yes! to this: “What’s the big rush to offer a positive spin, a redemptive arc? Isn’t it enough to hold fast to faith there is one, even if the details are still unknown? And to walk before all the witnesses to one’s life, free from thinking your story has no value until you can tie it up in a ribbon?”

    I suffer from this and God is slowly weaning me from it because it is more honest…the messy middle is often where the magic occurs as Brene Brown writes, but it is so hard and so well, messy… Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Like Dragging a Sadness Uphill – MarilynYocum.com

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