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February, 2016

Writing and Catharsis

by Webmaster

"One pen and one piece of paper can create an avalanche of catharsis.

"There's a reason journaling is so popular—the mere act of writing can dump toxic or excessive emotions out of the brain and onto the page. It can untangle obsessive thoughts or help decipher how you feel about an issue or problem." — Jennifer Mulson, "Poetry Heals demonstrates therapeutic power of writing," The Gazette, Dec. 30, 2015

I started writing in a journal near the end of 2002. A year after my father died, I looked for a way to come to terms with my issues with him, and the effects it had on my relationships with men. I used it as a dump; a place to store negative feelings so I didn't have to carry them around with me. It's cheaper than psychotherapy.

A year later, a friend said I should put the good things that happen into a journal, to remind myself of the good in life and reinforce my memories of it. I'm a firm believer that writing in a journal has made me a happier person and a more honest writer. There's no point in lying to a journal.

"[Poetry] makes you walk around your troubles from different perspectives and you make connections you might never have made before." — Molly Wingate, teacher of therapeutic writing to young men in recovery, as quoted by Jennifer Mulson

I started writing short stories when I was in junior high. I was an English major in college. I wrote essays, short stories, and poetry. Then I stopped writing. I didn't start writing songs until 1994. I started writing poems in 2011 when a song I tried to write didn't come together.

"Sometimes when you start a sentence you never know where it's going to end. The process of writing it down makes you think more sharply and complete the thought." — Jennifer Mulson

Emotion is the core of songs and poetry. Songwriters and poets want to put their listeners and readers through emotional changes. They use sensory images in the language. Songwriters also use melody and chords to reinforce the imagery of their words.

"If you're going through something hard and you write about it, it doesn't seem as hard. It puts it in perspective a little bit." — Chris Marquez, a participant in Poetry Heals, quoted by Jennifer Mulson

Songwriting is therapeutic. There's an adage: "Never break up with a songwriter." A Denver musician, Michael Engberg, titled his first CD of original songs, "Songs for Women I Don't See Anymore." David Wilcox and Taylor Swift are known for their not-too-subtle therapeutic songs.

"You help writers write about themselves from heir heart, kind of leading them to some of the poetic devices that are effective at making connections you wouldn't make before. That's where the magic of poetry happens." — Molly Wingate

In March, 2015, I finished the first draft of my first novel. I'm still editing it (that's the real work), and I've started two other novels. I look for inspiration everywhere. I found a meme of Facebook that I will use as a writing prompt for dialogue between two people. I think it's the heart of songwriting, poetry-writing, novel-writing, and journaling.

"I hate small talk. I wanna talk about atoms, death, aliens, sex, magic, intellect, the meaning of life, faraway galaxies, music that makes you feel different, memories, the lies you've told, your flaws, your favorite scents, your childhood, what keeps you up at night, your insecurities and fears. I like people with depth, who speak with emotion from a twisted mind." — unknown


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