In Charge of Your Destiny – Through Writing

From: Heather
Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 7:36 AM
To: Dianne Bunnell
Subject: Writing

Hi Aunt Dianne,

I’m wondering how you managed to write out all those memories without getting lost in them.


From: Dianne Bunnell
Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 7:56 AM
To: Heather
Subject: RE: Writing

Morning, Heather ~

A writing question, oh boy!

I think you have to immerse yourself in the memories to really convey them fully and honestly. Just write, let it pour out of you. It can be very healing, just getting it out on paper. When I was writing my novel, I remember a time when, unbeknownst to me, a day writing a particular chapter so riled up my subconscious that I woke up sobbing in the middle of the night. It was okay, though, and probably necessary.

That’s your first draft. In fact, Anne Lamott, a great writer, very funny, who writes regularly about very personal stuff, all her insecurities and more, calls this your shitty first draft, and every writer deserves one. I’ve found the best way to approach your draft for the first round of editing is to put it away for a few days, a week or two (or more, if needed), to give yourself the distance you need to edit and sculpt the messy, raw, true material by a variety of writing techniques (this is called your craft) into what you want to present to the world. Important to polish, polish, polish.

Hope that helps. Write on, Heather!

— Aunt Di

From: Dianne Bunnell
Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 4:13 PM
To: Heather
Subject: RE: Writing Through the Memories

Hi again, Heather ~

Your question has been on my mind today, and as I continued to give it thought, I realized I have more to say that might be helpful.

Your question: “How did you managed to write out all those memories without getting lost in them?” Hmm. Are you asking me whether or not to write about memories? It’s hard, isn’t it, to go through the emotions again while you’re writing about things from the past (bringing up feelings of anger or being victimized, or something like your innocence being taken from you). That’s just what you don’t want to feel anymore, right?

Here’s an important realization that helped me to not get lost in the memories.

First, imagine that someone took your children from you. Not only took them, but turned them against you so that they acted absolutely hateful toward you and wanted nothing more to do with you – ever, as far as you knew.

Horror, panic, terror, rage, heartbreak, victimization, utter hopelessness, and loss of will to go on. Off the top of my head, these were the emotions I was dealing with when I lost my girls. With time, I was able to get through it, but it marked me in a way that I’ll never be able to change. As horrible as it was, it is a piece of what makes me who I am.

Now, here’s the interesting part. As I processed the loss, it occurred to me that I could choose to be bitter and hostile. I could do that, easily. But I realized that if I kept the anger alive, it would mean I was giving the perpetrators another victory. Once I realized if my life were a mess it would be a victory for them, I decided right then that I absolutely refused to give them another victory – that much I was absolutely damn sure of.

They were not going to inflict any more pain. Rather than me making my life about the loss, I chose to see fictionalizing the loss as I wrote my novel as a way to help others who were going through this kind of hell. By having that goal, I was choosing to make something good out of the tragedy. I chose to react in this positive way – I had control over that. Feeling like I was in control and knowing for certain that I did not have to be sad or angry was a huge revelation. I refused to have a big “V” stamped on my forehead; I was finished being a victim.

I had always thought I would have a happy life, and by God, I was going to have a happy life – no matter what had been done to me. And so, I do. Maybe having that attitude helped in my healing, I don’t know. But the writing helped me work through the pain and the outrage.

And working through the emotions empowered me to think critically about what the outcome could be if I was in charge of making the outcome. I made a conscious decision to be a happy person. I don’t feel like I need vengeance – I guess I forgave them. Doesn’t mean I trust them, but they are not in any way the motivators for how I live my life – in fact, they are not worthy of thought, as far as I’m concerned. And I think if I were to see them at some point, I would have no problem being civil. That is the kind of person I am choosing to be. I am my own motivator, and every action of mine, every thought, as I strive for the utmost of living in this deeper, richer life I’ve suffered through and ultimately chosen, is empowering. I know for sure that I direct my own destiny.

Wow, think of it! You choose the life you live – no matter what happens to you.

Did that help?

— Aunt Di

From: Heather
Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 7:36 AM
To: Dianne Bunnell

Aunt Di,

Kind of exactly what I needed to hear.

From: Dianne Bunnell
Date: May 14, 2014 at 8:05 AM
To: Dianne Bunnell
Subject: Blog Worthy

Hi Heather,

Glad my answer was helpful. I was hoping it would be. So are you going to write some old memories out?

Also, I was thinking that what I wrote may be helpful to other writers, too. I’m wondering if you’d have any problem with my using the emails in my next blog post. I can remove the name. I could even take out any reference that you are my niece. Or you could be famous!

Let me know what you think.

— Aunt Di

From: Heather
Date: May 14, 2014 at 9:51:36 PM PDT
To: Dianne Bunnell
Subject: Blog Worthy

That’s awesome! It really helped me. I’ve actually been thinking about your answer all night. It helped put things in perspective.



About dkbunnell

Author, blogger, speaker.
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2 Responses to In Charge of Your Destiny – Through Writing

  1. You are amazing. When we choose to be the victim, we are the only ones who hurt. We might delude ourselves for a while that it feels good, but at some point we have to let it go and save ourselves.

    • dkbunnell says:

      Thank you, Gretchen. And channeling that reactive anger into something positive does so much more for us than lashing out at whoever inflicted the pain – once again, showing that the high road does have tremendous value, not only morally, but pragmatically!

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