The greatest challenge is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Writing Your Way to Health


Modern Melting Pot

What's new in racism.

Writing Your Way to a Healthier Mind and Body

Honest writing is lasting meditation

Writing can be the ultimate mind-body medicine.

As a professor of creative writing at Rutgers University for a number of years, I loved writing exercises; and I have used them in novel writing classes rather than just sending young writers off to wait for their muses.

I've finished reading an advance copy of Heal Your Self with Writing, by Catherine Ann Jones, the television writer of some of the episodes of “Touched by an Angel.” The book will not be published until August of this year but I will be talking about it in other posts, because I will be using it as an important guide.

I loved the book, mostly because it is filled with writing exercises inspired by spirituality and wisdom; and so the exercises can have transcendent healing effects. 

For example, page 161 quotes Carl Jung:

All true things must change,and only that which changes remains true.

 Then there are exercises:
  •  Think of one pattern you have observed about yourself that you feel no longer serves your life plan or goals.
  • Perhaps write about how it came to be and how it helped you to survive a period in your life.
  • Now write a dialogue thanking this trait for helping you to survive and telling it that it is no longer necessary for your life now. Bid it gently adieu.
Brilliant! It is a gentle-acting laxative for the spiritual digestive tract, which is usually all clogged up with patterns and perceptions that no longer work. Writing gives the biggest doses of mind-body medicine I can think of.
Because of the unique way that it affects the mind, creative writing can definitely heal the body. There is much in the book that is useful for novelists and script writers. Every character’s crisis, on the deepest spiritual level, can be viewed as a struggle to have something they deeply believe “remain true.”

Reader identification and involvement with characters can also be analyzed by a fiction writer through the Jungian lens: “Make the reader desperate for the character to change a certain view of the world before circumstances create an undesirable climax or resolution.”  Jones has gotten to the core of all good storytelling in fiction or journaling.

In fiction the writer should always give strong dramatic action scenes in which a character graphically “shows” patterns that will not work well in the crisis situation toward which the story is driving. Journal writers are urged to actually see scenes from their lives in the same graphic way.

Heal Your Self with Writing urges writers to make the scene, and the trait created in the scene, come so much to life that the writer will be tempted to say aloud to the trait: “Adios, goodbye, later ‘gator, git gone.”

I wish Heal Your Self with Writing was published now because I would get each participant in our Alternate Reality Game, The Spy Game, A Conspiracy for Good to get a copy before they did any writing to explore the mazes of paradoxes that will come up in the
  • Fan fiction
  • Crowd source nonfiction
  • Video scripts
  • Audio scripts
that they write for the game.

With Heal Your Self with Writing in mind we can affirm that the best of modern fiction does not have villains, as such. They simply have characters who will not, have not, or cannot, change to keep their truths remain true. And in the best of modern fiction there is always a paradox—whatever the change, something will be gained but something will be lost.

Heal Your Self with Writing pulls wisdom from all across world civilizations—from Lao Tzu to a female Sufi to Booker T. Washington to Steve Jobs. The writing is smooth and so there is no heavy medicinal effect to the healing. It feels more like healing with natural remedies. It cleans the charka. Heal Your Self with Writing is an elixir for the soul.

George Davis is author of the new spiritual spy novel, The Melting Points, about three women pursued by danger as the clockwork universe melts around them. In development is a television series based on his soon-to-be-published nonfiction novel, Branches, which continues the spiritual journey that Alex Haley dramatized in “Roots.”  It continues the journey of America towards becoming an exceptional, multiracial nation.