When I was young, I was always amazed that out of such profound rage, one could end by writing quite calmly. One reacts rather strongly, but as a writer, one distills that down. If those responses were not strong, probably one would not be a writer.
This evening the kid had me seeing red. “I’m going out for a walk,” was just a pretense, as her boyfriend must’ve picked her up in the driveway where she dropped her ugly, old winter coat. I’d suggested she wear it so as not to freeze on her way around the neighborhood. I should’ve clued in when she pleasantly agreed. Parental brains only kicked in about 5 minutes later when we realized that she never would’ve denied the dog a walk, and he was still on the floor next to me. I got mad then.
Eventually, our texts/phone calls were answered. “I’ll be home soon. I needed a break. You wouldn’t have let me.” Most likely not, given her current grades and other issues.
At least we didn’t have to worry. Instead, I plotted my next move.
Calmly, I headed up the stairs to my closet where we’d decided to keep her prom dress. It wouldn’t stand a chance in her sty of a room, and I’d paid good money for it just last weekend. Slipping off the plastic protector, I ran my winter-rough fingers down the elegant, orchid satin. “Oh, a little snag!” Too bad, I thought. “Hopefully, she won’t notice,” I told myself. It was only a minor blemish. I held the dress up to myself. “I look like a princess!” Silvery shoes and a choker, pearl or stones, would match the beads in the bodice perfectly.
Back downstairs, I found my scissors, the special ones I hide for myself in order to cut fabric for my rugs. They’re nice and sharp. I grabbed a glass, the bottle of pinot grigio and settled in by the front door with the dress and the scissors, just waiting for her return…
Strong emotion can’t always be acted on. Prudence may make you choke back a protest. But the emotion itself shouldn’t be squandered. It is available to you as energy to pour into your writing.
- Susan Shaughnessy
Have you “harnessed” the power of anger and other emotions and been able to plow it back into your writing? Please share a paragraph or two.