Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fear Again

When we write, usually, at some point, our characters must confront one or more of their fears. That is, after all, how someone grows—whether it’s us or our characters.

This week, my friend with breast cancer is having to confront her fears. Again. She was supposed to have reconstructive surgery today. Instead, they found a spot on her lungs when they did the body scan beforehand. It could be nothing. It could be a minor infection. It could be the return of cancer.

My friend has to confront her fears. She has to choose what she will focus on and the steps she will take—first to find out what the spot means and second how she will handle whatever the news may be.

It is by confronting their fears that our characters reveal who they are—and who they can become. It is in confronting fear in our own lives that we discover who we can become as well.

As writers, when we create these scenes in our stories, we have the chance to let others know they are not alone in how they feel and show the range of possibilities for how someone might cope. We can let those who have never faced such fears know what it feels like.

They say that to understand all is to forgive all. By writing our stories and letting readers into worlds they might otherwise not know, we have a chance to let readers understand what they otherwise might not.

I hope you will keep my friend Wanda in your thoughts and prayers. I hope that whatever fears you are confronting in your own lives will turn out better than you thought they could. And if you are a writer, I hope you always know that the stories we tell matter.