Writing When You’re Engulfed in Flames

Image description: burned trees on a hillside. Photo credit: Husbeast,

It’s October. While others revel in the crisp mornings, the changing foliage, and everything pumpkin spice, not so for me. I dislike the cold and driving in the snow, so the shortening days typically feel like a threat.

But this year, August and early September were a crucible. It started with a family member in the hospital and an emergency cross-country trip. It ended with Husbeast and me becoming victims to criminal activity.

This summer I spent too much time up too early or up too late worrying. I spent too much time frantically searching public spaces for an isolated corner in which to cry. I spent too much time staring at my iPad, willing the words to come and thinking how do I write when I’m engulfed in flames?

I do not tell you this to garner sympathy. Although these experiences were awful, my life is filled with so much love that even in my darkest hours hope shines bright. I tell you this because my experience is not unique. I hope, I dearly, dearly hope, that you will never have the unexpected phone call which changes the course of your day, your week, your entire relationship with your loved one. But my day job is in health care and I know statistically many of you have, or you will. And you too will have the thought how do I write/work/parent/get out of bed when I’m engulfed in flames?

I wish I had the answer. I wish there was an answer. I wish there was some way to break this down into a categories, into a nice bulleted list, an infographic– some way, any way to contain and define the trauma because maybe if I could define it I could fix it. But this is moving, changeable, undefinable. Such is the nature of fire.

I cannot end this entry with a satisfying list. I cannot give you links to podcasts, or websites, or pithy examples from literature. All I can say is this: you are not alone. You are not broken because you are struggling. Eventually, fall will come again.

2 Replies to “Writing When You’re Engulfed in Flames”

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