Day 5: Meet Grief

Day 5: The Undraining Drain

Drain running but slow draining, frothing sludge pools in the basin. The shower is clogged again. At the core of the problem is a nest of coppery and blacken crud. I grip and tease off the tangle of hairs from the round, shower drain strainer. But it’s a futile fight. Everyday fistfuls come out and fall to the floor. I return hoping today is my day to wash away pain but it’s back and backed up; it’s plugged and pooling up at my feet again. Soaked feet seep up and heart hurts — capillary action. When will the hairs stop falling out? I should have shaved head, like his, long ago. No use now. My insides are the same as that pipe. Gritted and coated with build up of soap scum. Gummed with hair. What was intended to get me clean has clung to my insides, now I am unable to do the simplest of jobs. My drain arms are broken. Nails have been driven in from the underside. And the trap is jammed. All tomorrows are backed up, too. 



For day five, I’d like you to try a different kind of prompt: one that focuses on the craft of writing.

If you were writing fiction, you’d want to know the voice of your main character. You’d want to know the way they walk, the kinds of food they eat, how they comb or don’t comb their hair. They would need to be real. In way, your grief is a character: it has a rhythm and a voice. It is particular to you. If we’re going to be working with grief, let’s find out who s/he is.

The creative tool is called personification. What we’re really doing is giving grief, itself, a voice. When it has a voice, it can tell us things.

So: let’s think of this exercise as inviting your grief to introduce himself / herself to you.

an off-the-cuff example: Grief rocks, slumped in a corner, spent drink in her left hand, dirt smeared across her forehead. She hums and she cries; her hands flit against things I don’t see. As I come near, she looks up, startled but clear eyed:
“What do you want?” she asks, adjusting the straps of her dress.
She pats herself down gently. “What is it you most want? Maybe I have it. Maybe I have it somewhere….”

If your grief is a character who can come forward and speak, what kind of voice does s/he have? Don’t tell us about it, let him or her actually speak. Write in grief’s voice.

To get there, you might begin by taking just a few moments to quiet yourself. Close your eyes. Take a few breaths. As you feel yourself center, pick up your pen or set your hands over the keyboard. Take another breath, and on the exhale, imagine you ask your pain this question:

“Who are you?” or “Tell me who you are…”

If you see an image – a being, a creature, a person, describe what you see. Can you engage with it? If your grief is a character who can come forward and speak, what kind of voice does s/he have? Don’t tell us about it, let him or her actually speak. Write in grief’s voice.

Give it some time – allow the voice to find itself. If you feel stuck, be outlandish: make something up. Play with it. See where it goes.

From Megan Devine’s Refuge In Grief Write Your Grief Workshop

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