This is a guest post by Kevin Carey-Infante
Why do we write? Many of us use the pen to heal ourselves. Have you ever heard the saying: We all have a book in us? If this axiom is true, then where does that book come from? The answer is a simple one. It comes from within. It comes from our experiences. The best books are born out of the things we know. For many of us those experiences are rather painful. It makes sense that the experiences most of us remember and carry through our lives are the ones that stick in our minds because of the pain associated with them. A friend recently told me that she once read that almost every Hollywood star, famous musician, or popular writer was once the victim of abuse and/or bullying as a child.
When we read a novel, although we are ultimately looking for that happy ending, we want drama! We crave the adrenaline rush of a good heart-pounding, action-packed novel. We buy a book for its unforeseen twists and turns. We want to be challenged and entertained. We want to be left breathless when we finish it. Even though we are reading fiction, every piece of fiction, it is said, carries within it a piece of non-fiction. No matter how fantastic a story, there is a part of it that rings true, making the rest of the book believable and changing the way readers react to a book. Those real-life personal experiences are what make an otherwise mundane story a page-turner.
There are plenty of studies that back up the many healing powers of writing. As a member of the Novel Publicity community, I would like to offer you my story of how I used the pen as my sword to encourage you in your writing endeavors. I was fortunate enough, or unfortunate, depending on your point-of-view, to meet a psychiatrist who introduced me to the art of journaling at the tender age of 13-years old.
I was a victim of 2 long years of sexual and physical abuse by a friend’s father. I was also being bullied at school. My self-confidence and psyche were obviously pretty broken. The doctor began my therapy by handing me a notebook. He told me to write down my deepest feelings so we could discuss them. It took 2 sessions to figure out that baring my soul was only making me feel worse. I liked the writing, but not the therapy. I made a life-changing decision at that moment. I decided to keep 2 simultaneous journals – one with my true feelings, which I kept solely for me, and a second fictitious one with tales that I could discuss with the shrink and feel disconnected. I didn’t want anyone, including my shrink, to know how broken I really was.
The truth is that journaling became my way of dealing with the constant bullying and the PTSD of the child abuse. Putting my deepest, darkest secrets on paper, believing that no one would ever read them, worked better than any anti-depressant or anti-anxiety drug. Together with my love of books and reading and my private writings I was able to escape and unload all of my troubles and fears, if only for a little while.
It wasn’t until years later, after getting the courage to publish my first novel, which was a fictionalized version of my child abuse experience, did I fully realize how cathartic writing truly is—not just for me, but for the countless readers in this wide world of ours. You see, not only did writing ultimately keep me from going over the edge, but it was also the one thing that got me to thrive and live again. My writing got me out of my shell because I knew that I had to return to the universe everything it had given me for so many years, and everything it continues to give me. I knew that I had no choice but to give back to the people who needed it the most.
Now, through a new groundbreaking social media website I am giving teens around the world the opportunity to use writing as their cathartic, healing platform. My dream is to give every person who wants it the tools that I didn’t have when I was a teen (mainly because computers and the Internet didn’t exist when I was a teen – but I digress.) Those tools include a safe place to come for support, encouragement, and respect; a place to find like-minded friends; the ability to get answers to issues that concern teens; a place to find helpful resources; and the ability to give those who don’t have it and really need it—a voice. The website is aptly called MakeItBetterRightNow.com or, as we like to call it MIBRN.
I encourage you to visit us, register and offer words of support and encouragement. I promise you that you will get as much out of it, if not more, than our community of teens.
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