Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Does your mood ever affect your writer's voice?

I'm feeling the effect right now. And I'm not liking it.

In the midst of working on an article, our seventeen-year-old feline Columbo, aka Big Boy, passed away. This last year has been difficult for him with thyroid issues, extreme weight loss, and finally infected teeth which was the final bout that he succumbed to.

Isn't he the handsomest cat! Looking back through pictures of him in his healthy years is a blessing. They remind me of the spunky brown tabby who decided fresh water from the cooler was more preferable to his stale water dish contents. Columbo would stretch and hook his paw over the water cooler spout and drink from it as it poured and overflowed the reservoir. We frequently needed to mop the floor after these outrageous escapades.

He also loved to show our dogs up with his barb-like claws. Most of the time he played with them fair and square, batting at them with his nails retracted, but when he had enough and they wouldn't let him walk away, the killer barbs came out and were good for a yelp or two from his prey.

Though I miss our morning feeding ritual and his begging for a taste of the girls' luncheon meat, I honestly don't wish the feeble Big Boy back. If I could have our youthful, even vibrant adult Columbo here, I would in a heartbeat. But he deserves to be at peace, free from discouragement of a failing body, free from pain.

And so now I go through the process of mourning, and in doing so I find my writer's voice is most sullen. I tried endlessly to write an upbeat international article for next months CFOM, but failed miserably. Perhaps I should have added a post script: "Written while mourning" but I have a feeling those who know me that read it, will figure that out all on their own.

Our writer's voice really is a compilation of our moods, training, experiences, and unique qualities, and when one mood supersedes all the others it is most difficult to hide in our daily words. I guess that's where editing comes in handy. Unfortunately for that article, though, the deadline kept me from doing so in a lighter, happier mood.

Do you ever find your extreme mood swings seeping into your work? How do you handle it?

Surrendering to Him,



sherrinda said...

I'm sorry about your cat. Losing a pet is not an easy thing, especially when they have been with you for a long time. We thought we lost ours a couple of months ago. He disappeared for 3 weeks and we thought he was long gone, but he showed up at our doorstep one morning, skinny, and hoarse from crying.

Yes, my moods definitely affect my writing. It doesn't seep into my work as much as it hinders my ability to even get IN to my work! I find that words just don't come and I don't know why! It is the most frustrating thing. With so much going on in my life right now, I can't seem to get past a certain scene in my own WIP.

So yes, moods definitely affect my writing.

Jessica said...

I'm so sorry! One of mine died, the boy who my husband bought for me when we first married, and that was tough. So sorry. :-(
I'd use your emotions in your writing. Even if you write a scene out of order, get the mood onto the page. Yeah, My mood can seep through too.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Thanks, ladies!

Jessica, I was thinking of that too, but just couldn't bring myself to write a somber scene just yet. My keyboard would sizzle from the tears. God made me one enormous animal lover!