It pains me a little to say that I know exactly what you mean. Those of us who have experienced the death of a loved one share the same strand of sorrow that I doubt will ever leave us; it will always be a part of us, like a scar.
But scars, I think, are a beautiful thing. Many regard scars as something that makes them ugly, something that diminishes who they were before, a constant reminder that A Bad Thing happened. But I look at them differently. I look at them and see stories—regardless how awful or hurtful—from which we survived. We survived. We won and scars are our badge of victory. This is why what you said makes perfect sense to me.
Charles Warnke, a contemporary writer that I like, wrote in his blog once, “In the future I will not try to be happy. Sadness is already too much of a burden. I cannot add loss to it again.”
It’s an interesting perspective, but I can’t agree with him. I don’t regard Sadness as a burden, but a necessary part of who we are, sort of like having crooked teeth, moles in all the wrong places, or an annoying cousin. Or scars, for that matter.
Sadness from death and other misfortunes will continue to loom around us, but it doesn’t need to control us or take over how we do things. And it shouldn’t be ignored, either. Sometimes the best way to deal with Sadness is to recognize that it’s there and that it serves as a reminder. Whether we take it as a reminder of a Bad Thing or a reminder that We Survived, well, that’s up to us.
I should tell you that as I’m writing this, I’m listening to Bon Iver, with the song Blindsided playing in loop. The band’s album For Emma, Forever Ago is great for late-night verbal diarrhea. I’ve become used to this habit; listening to unbelievably sad songs while writing late at night. I’m not entirely sure why sad songs work best, but more than anything, I reckon it’s because these songs allow me to feel. They get me down, yes, but I feel more. And then I realize that I am more alive than ever. I remember when I wrote the screenplay of Catcher in the Rye for our high school project a decade ago, the one song I listened to was Could It Be Any Harder by The Calling. That is one sad song, I tell you. It played in loop until it became a part of me and synched perfectly with my rhythm in writing.
It seems contradicting, but since we’re on the topic, I believe it’s another case of happiness and sadness being two sides of the same coin. But anyway, I just wanted to share what music I usually listen to when writing. And I’m curious to know your writing playlist, if there is any. I’m always interested in what people listen to.
I’m going to be extremely busy in the next couple of weeks because I have grades to compute and a number of articles to finish for work, but I’ll be looking forward to your next letter.