The Pain Behind the Words

by Valarie Kinney

There was an axe in the back of my head, and I couldn’t stop writing.

Yesterday was a migraine day, and while I battled with myself for hours to push through, keep writing, keep working, eventually I gave up and went to bed.

It’s difficult to write when the light feels like sharp forks are stabbing you in the eyes, and the pain in the back of my head was so great I could have wept. So after I picked the kids up from school, I sent myself to bed.

No more writing today, I said to myself.

But my brain doesn’t work like that, and in some bizarre sort of way, it seems to be more creative and intense when I’m in pain.

So I went to bed, pulled the comforter up over my head to block out the light, scrunched my eyes shut and tried to sleep away the migraine.

Instead, I thought about writing this article. And I thought about the new novel I’ve been working on, and the short story I need to write for an anthology, and more articles I could write for the websites I usually submit to, and ideas for a short story collection I’ve been thinking of putting out.

Wave after creative wave slammed through my already aching head, putting more pressure on eyes that felt as though they weighed a thousand pounds each.

I wish that I could turn it off.

It’s not the first time this has happened, and it doesn’t seem to be limited to only physical pain. Emotional pain works just as well. I wrote my first book after my dad died; my second, after my sister passed. The more distressed I am, the more words tumble about in my brain. They knock around in my mind, keeping me awake when I desperately need to sleep, shouting at me when I need to focus on how to make myself feel better.

I can write just about anytime, and I do. But I think I write more creatively when I’m in pain, which is weirdly fortunate, because I’m often immersed in the physical sort.

And there doesn’t seem to be much I can do about that, either.

I suppose it could always be worse, right?

Historically, writers often seem to struggle with things such as addiction in order to get words out on a page.

At least I’m not in that boat.

Pain is cheaper than addiction, and I don’t need to show up in some dark corner of town to do business with any scary looking people in order to get a story rolling.

Most days, I just need to wake up and live in this body.

Valarie KinneyValarie Kinney is a writer, fiber artist and Renaissance Festival junkie with a wicked caffeine addiction. She resides in Michigan with her husband, four children, and two insane little dogs. She is the author of Heckled, Slither and Just Hold On, as well as the short stories Copper and Ailith in the KAPOW! anthologies by 7DS Books. Narrator for Dragons of Faith.

2 thoughts on “The Pain Behind the Words”

  1. It feels perverse to be grateful for someone’s pain, but when it drives creation such as this and so much more – Could a man not in pain have written “The Raven” or “Annabel Lee” or the Symphony Pathetique? – what else can one do?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it is not uncommon in creative types. And you are right… what else can I do? To not let the words out, pain or not, would just make them build up in my brain and cause more distress. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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