Sunday, December 4, 2011

Freight

Our life experiences influence us every day, as do the experiences of those close to us. Some call this baggage. In his new novel, author Mel Bosworth calls it Freight

Photo courtesy of Free Artistic Photos
As writers, it’s likely that some of our freight makes it onto the page. And it should. It’s meaningful stuff and readers can relate because they live these real lives too. French author Marcel Proust said: “We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full.” Perhaps part of that process is writing about it.

Mel Bosworth's novel is a small book about the big things we all carry around inside of us. “This unflinching, quirky novel follows a flawed yet lovable everyman as he searches for Home. We never learn his name. Nor do we learn her name – the woman whose freight is still too much for him to carry. But we know he likes soft things. We know he works through pain. We know his childhood still clings to him, despite his graying hair. And through knowing him and all his freight, ours is easier to bear.” (From the back cover.)



Photo courtesy of Free Artistic Photos

There is something freeing about finding the right words to carry our burdens onto the page. When we get the words right, they take some of the weight from our shoulders. Again, from the book: “At some point we become a bulging hose or a screaming faucet. We stand in the yard or we hunch at the sink and we have to turn the spigot. . .we become the water, spilling all over the place, and into ourselves. It’s the release we crave, the release we need so we can make more room inside ourselves. . .”

Photo courtesy of Free Artistic Photos


When I read a story where the characters go through something that I’ve been through, it helps me to feel less alone. There’s a Bible verse that sticks in my head, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galations 6:2) Perhaps God has given us the gift of writing as a means of sharing our burdens, and in the process, lightening the burdens of others. On a planet where more than seven billion people inhabit less than 2% of the Earth’s surface, there’s no reason why anyone should have to feel alone. Maybe we just need to open up more, and share our freight.


Do you put your freight onto the page?



42 comments:

  1. Thank you for making me think! I think I probably do use my words to 'unload' every now and then, always for the character's own good, (or bad), of course :-)

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  2. I think it's all a part of Write What You Know. In some way, even in character nuances, or a sense of place, part of who I am comes out in my story.

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  3. Ruth, once again your blog has evoked new thoughts on hidden stuff. =) I guess many of us are afraid of unloading because we don't want to be caught whining. (Besides, there's already lots of negativity in the world.) But it's true: we need release so we can make more room within ourselves. And what's on the pages of most books if they aren't the author's own freight?

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  4. I think pieces of my freight certainly make it onto the page in different ways, no matter the genre I happen to be writing. I like that term for it, by the way...freight.

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  5. Sounds like an intriguing book that we can sure relate to. Yep, plenty of my freight makes it onto the pages through my different characters. Writing is definitely a freeing experience.

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  6. I like the idea of freight. I do my best to share it on the page.

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  7. What a wonderful post, Ruth, and you make so many connections that resonate. I write to understand and to share. Thank you and God bless. Vijaya

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  8. Hi! A thought-provoking post! I must admit that I don't put much of my freight on the page...when I write, I look for escape and creation rather than "processing." Of course you can't help bits of yourself going into characters and setting. Still, there is writing that is therapeutic and meant for yourself and then there's writing that's something else meant for readers. It's still a "giving."

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  9. “We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full.” Love that! This is a beautiful post :)

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  10. I hadn't thought about it in these terms, but yes, sometimes I do! This post makes me think that perhaps I should do more of it, even if it is simply a journaling exercise. Good post, Ruth. Thanks so much!

    Good to see you today over at my blog, and thanks for hopping over to see the review, too. Have a great week!

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  11. What a great post, Ruth! And this book looks very intriguing! Thanks for sharing...

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  12. Fabulous post. This book sounds great. I like stuff like that. I think it's important that we use some of our own "freight" in writing, because someone out there can relate to it... and like you said - that helps someone connect and realize they aren't alone in the world.

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  13. Really captivating pictures :)

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  14. I suppose including our own freight can't be helped when we write. I like that metaphor a lot. Thanks for posting this. I'll check out the book.

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  15. Never thought of it that way before. And I totally share my freight!

    Thanks for the follow. Followed back. And I gave you a shout-out on my blog today. :)

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  16. Beautiful post Ruth. Like the idea of Freight -- yes, I share my freight. Very cathartic! Thanks for recommending this book, as it is quite unusual. I like it.

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  17. I definitely think some of my freight makes it to the page. And I completely agree with you about reading a book where the character feels the same way you do or is going through something you've gone through. It makes you identify with them on a different level.

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  18. Wow, this is excellent. I do, though not in ways I think I ever intend. Does this make sense?

    Thanks for your lovely comments at my place.

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  19. That's the beauty of fiction, somehow we don't feel alone because we feel like the author gets us. And that means other readers will get it too, even if the same thing hasn't happened to them.

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  20. What a wonderful, thoughtful post. Thank you for articulating this very important aspect of writing. Because I think it's the most important. It's what gives a story emotional resonance. It's why we write, and often why we read - to share those feelings, to know we're not alone.

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  21. Freight. Cool way of saying it. But yeah. My freight does make it onto the pages of my stories. Even my picture books. But a lot differently than my middle grade.

    Writing is such a solitary profession. It's great to know I'm not the only one that puts my freight onto the page. Great post! :-) I will buy the book.

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  22. Wow, what an awesome concept. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  23. Lowly post. Think our writing is the strongest when we share some of that freight. When you read a book and think, "That FEELS so real, the author has shared real emotion - even if the situation is different.

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  24. When I think of freight, I think of a box-car on a train or a truckload of something. Baggage makes me think of a couple of bags we take on vacation. I'll try not to unload a whole train box-car of freight, maybe just a bag or two. Just enough to touch a nerve, but not bog the reader down too much.

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  25. The book sounds really interesting. I do put my freight on paper sometimes but I call it "my journal" and it's for my eyes only! I'm afraid my life just isn't interesting enough for the public eye. But I do love reading about other people's freight! It's also a bit hard for me to put my freight out there when I'm writing children's picture books. I'm afraid the kids would just giggle at me and tell me to get a real life! ha

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  26. I'm with Allyn, I put my fright down on paper in a journal. Private eyes only, which makes me wonder why I keep them as once I am dead will people read them? Maybe I should think about a bon-fire of journals.

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  27. In the back of any worthwhile writing there is ‘freight.’ At least this is how it seems to me.

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  28. Sarah - Always for the characters, of course ;)

    Joanne - I guess it all falls under that umbrella, doesn't it?

    Claudine - I know what you mean. I've struggled with the question of putting more negativity into the world.

    Shannon - I like the term as well. Baggage is so overused ;)

    Lynn - It is a cool little book. It offers two options for reading. Straight through, or looping back and forth through the use of cues in the sidebar.

    Stacy - Thanks for chiming in.

    Vijaya - To understand and to share - that's a great way to sum it up. I agree.

    Sarah - Nice to meet you. Thanks for stopping by. I know what you mean about escape. I tend to write for young children when I'm looking for escape. When I'm processing, that stuff is much heavier and usually ends up focused on a teen or adult audience.

    Coleen - Isn't that quote great! I have it taped to the side of my computer monitor.

    Karen - I don't tend to journal. But perhaps I should.

    Katie - Hi =) Thanks for stopping by.

    Abby - Yes, sometimes when I am tempted to keep a "heavy" story to myself, I remind myself that perhaps there is someone out there who needs to read it as much as I needed to write it.

    Kelley - =) I love choosing the pictures for my posts.

    Lee - I hope you like the book. I'm only half way through. Can't wait to get back to it.

    David - Thanks for the shout out =D

    Patricia - Yes, cathartic, that's the word for it.

    Kelly - Yes, identifying is so important.

    Caroline - I know what you mean. There are the obvious ways that we're conscious of and then the subtler ways that we may not even notice at first.

    Stina - Hey there! =)

    Susanna - It is an important part, isn't it. I probably didn't realize how important until I really started putting my heart into my writing, and made those first connections with readers.

    Robyn - I hope you like the book. I'd be interested in hearing how you decide to read it. I'm reading it beginning to end my first time through but I plan to try the detours the second time around.

    Sarah - Hi! Thanks for chiming in.

    Stephanie - You're right. It's often the emotion we can relate to, even in different circumstances.

    Rick - When you carry it around long enough, even a few small bags can feel like a truckload! (But I get what you're saying.)

    Allyn - I understand. Can't get too heavy with PBs.

    Courtney - Oh yes, I got rid of my teenage diaries long ago!

    Mirka - I like how you put it: freight as the backbone.

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  29. I can't help it. It just comes out naturally onto the page. I like calling it freight instead of baggage. :)

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  30. I like the term too. :) Thanks for stopping by my blog. It's nice to meet you.

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  31. Ruth - good post! I like the term "freight" on page. It reminds of "fright", but not in a bad way! If I am too full of fright to do something worthwhile, I need to buck up and get the share the load! Bearing one another's burdens is a good thing, indeed!

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  32. What a beautiful post! Beautiful words and...so inspiring! Thank you for posting this!

    I have put my own freight in my stories, a couple times. I won't go into details here, and really, few people would know for sure that I've done so. But I think I need to bear others' burdens also. I think it's a beautiful thing we can do for each other, and I know there've been those in my life who have helped carry my load when I couldn't do it on my own.

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  33. "Perhaps God has given us the gift of writing as a means of sharing our burdens, and in the process, lightening the burdens of others."

    Oh, this is beautiful.

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  34. Yes freight is a much better term than baggage! It has gravitas (*weight*). I do think the writers' freight is probably what gives fiction its emotional resonance, what readers might see as honesty and depth. If you hold back, the writing seems less authentic. But one has to also have a bit of distance on it. Emotion recollected in tranquility, and all that.

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  35. Very true and great quotes. I have done this myself to some small degree through poetry. Is that why morning pages are so popular too?

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  36. Nice post. And nice blog! Added myself as a follower. :)

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  37. I use my journal for my freight. Love this word! I'm now your latest follower.

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  38. Sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for the review!

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  39. I love it when I can relate to a character. It does make me feel less alone with my problems. I add freight to my own manuscripts.

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  40. I'm a firm believer in checking baggage (or heavy loads). So, yes, I think it's good to unload on the page. Makes life a little bit lighter.

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  41. Just popping in again to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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  42. beautiful post and beautiful quotes!

    I know my junk gets loaded onto the page. It is very theraputic. And it's true, reading books has helped me deal with my own problems.

    Great post!

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