Friday, July 15, 2011

Unexpected Insights

Coping skills can be destructive,  but there are times when they can be quite insightful. Finding a positive way to cope in extreme adversity can lead to insights that you could not obtain otherwise. You see this in an excerpt from “Pages in the Wind” as Emily tries to cope with a particularly violent episode with her father. Ordered to help her mother and brother afterward, she struggles to compose herself by transferring her thoughts to memories with her grandmother.



The sound of the clattering plates reminded me  why I was there. I watched Robert bend over and hand plates to mother as she carefully placed them in the dishwasher. They worked in silence, handing the plates to her in steady succession. I thought of helping grandma hang clothes on the clothesline on a warm summer day. The chores were a backdrop to the laughter and joy of being with grandma. It was so effortless, and free. Staring at mother and Robert, I felt a sense of sadness for Robert. Robert never knew grandma like I did. He spent his time with father, going to baseball games and doing the things that boys love, I guess. He’ll never know what it feels like to be still and enjoy the peaceful bliss of spending a warm summer day at Grandma’s house. He’ll never know what it feels like to sit at grandma’s big kitchen table making raison bread, and listening to Grandma’s stories about the old country as we waited for the timer to tell us the bread was done. He’ll never know to wait five minutes for the bread to cool enough so you can spread the butter on the warm bread and watch it melt. He’ll never be able to savor the taste of the sweet bread, and watch grandma smile as we praise our tasty works of art. I felt my body relax in the memory of that cherished time. Composed, I looked at Mom and asked, “Mom, what can I do to help?”


Despite her father’s wrath, Emily’s spirit remains strong. She is able to feel empathy for her brother which seems on the surface implausible, considering she has every reason to resent her brother. They do not share the same childhood, and her father’s constant affection and attention to him is a constant reminder of her father’s hatred of her. Emily is able to superimpose beauty onto the scene in front of her, and wish that her brother could share in the pleasure. Whether she can retain this positive coping mechanism as she matures will be an important factor in her psychological development.

9 comments:

  1. I found your blog on another blog highlighting the most beautiful blogs. I love your writing, and the way that you analyze your characters in your books. I have been following, and happy to finally see a new post (hint hint). Love the way you write and I always look forward to the analyst.

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  2. The spirit and its ability to survive is a mystery and you've captured it well in this passage. I follow your writing and you have an intriguing sense of flow with your words and the wave you weave a story. I am a professor of english and have studied this for many years. Yours is among the best I've read in the way in which you present your characters. Bravo.

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  3. I love your writing it is so beautfiul Im enjoying your posts. I look forward to reading the book, awesome!!!

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  4. Love your post and your writing. Finding a positve coping mechanism is a challenge and I hope that Emily can continue this as she matures. Love your writing so so so much!!!

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  5. It is a testimony to your Emily that she is able to go past the sibling rivalry. Beautiful blog

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  6. Nice blog and love your artwork. I hope that Emily stays sweet, she has that kind of spirit. Enjoying the read!

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  7. Emily seems like the type of person who keeps a lot of her thoughts to herself. I see that she has a lot of resentment, but tries to bury it. This might be working for her right now, but later on in life the resentment could surface again in the midst of tragedy or when she gets married. Either that or she could slowly become depressed over time.

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  8. your blog is beautifully written, I am following her story. Thank you for your posts and insights.

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  9. Love the subtle way that you integrated her relationship with her brother because it felt so real. I enjoy your writing very much, and your blog is great. I wonder what Emily will grow to become.

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