Δευτέρα, 24 Απριλίου 2017

Writing about difficult things





I dream of writing a book one day. But it is a kind of far off dream... As most writers I think I would like to write a story. About some guy and his interesting life, and all the women in it. I've had a few false starts, an intial draft maybe of a first chapter, but that is as far as I have got. One of my stumbling blocks is that I tend to immediately think of myself as the "hero", which makes it difficult for me to escape certain autobiographical parts in the plot. If not all. And that won't do...

Of course I have my articles, for want of another description, which are mostly thoughts, feelings, observations on life, politics, the world, they way we think and behave, what we do, why...

Reading back through some of my articles I realise that not only are they some kind of thought organisation, but in many cases they can be a glimpse into the actual process of thought itself.


Once upon a time when people had problems, mainly marital or emotional or even existential, they would go to the local parish, meet the priest, holy man, shaman, vicar or mufti and talk about it with him. Religion played a big part in calming people down, giving them a reason for all their woes, a pacifier of kinds.

In our times and in the developed western world, in many cases the role once played by the representatives of God (or Allah, or whoever...) is now played by therapists. In fact I think Alain de Botton, the noted modern philosopher once said that there should be a therapist in every neighborhood, and it should be compulsory for people to visit them every two weeks or so, especially couples, who could be trained and given exercises in coping with one another... and not breaking up!!

As some of my "constant readers" may know or may have noticed, the issue of divorce is one that has troubled me for a while. and when I say "troubled" I mean it in both ways!... I've been through two of my own, and before that my parents too.

And of course when I hang out with divorced friends often conversation revolves around the issue, sharing experiences, advice etc...

Bringing up children in a "divorce" environment is a particularly prickly issue. Let's face it bringing up children is difficult as it is, let alone in a divorce situation, and even more so if it is a messy one.

Unfortunately more often than not, the parents, supposed to be adults, behave in a very immature way, lumbering their kids with extr baggage to sort out later in life... It is bad enough going through adolescence and puberty what with all the hormones raging, you don't need your parents raging too!!!

I had this thought recently about writing a guide for kids. How to understand all the idiotic things your parents do, say, the way they behave...

When parents split up, inevitably there is some conflict, enmity, bad feeling in the air. There is a very popular saying that you don't know who you were married to until you have to break up with them.

It is so true.

Imagine how difficult it must be for the kids to understand why the people they knew to be a unit "the parents" , the "family unit", suddenly become two enemies, seemingly hating each other, nothing in common, in the worst cases using the kids as a weapon or a shield between them...

I toyed with the idea of writing a little funny guide on parents behaviour post-divorce.

Say for example a dad who now sees his ex with someone else, the new person in his kid's life, who cannot accept that he was inadequate as a husband and prefers to lay the blame on the new man who took his woman away...

He won't miss a chance to show he despises him , hating even a mention of the "other's" name, hating the car he drives, cringing when his kid accidentally calls him with the "other's" name.

How do you explain this to a kid without him getting the wrong idea? Your dad hates my guts because he thinks I took your mother away from him. He thinks I ruined your family, I came between him and her...

How do you explain to a child that affairs of the heart tend to draw out the immature in us, how egos that are traumatised react so badly, so unfairly. How do you explain without making the other party seem unfair, immature or childish?

Somehow I think it can't be done. If you have the balls to try and do the best, you take in your stride and hope that one day they will understand.

To try and explain while a child is still that, a Child, is to risk greater misunderstandings...

In a parallel to my problem of writing some kind of fiction that would be way too autobiographical to write without hurting others feelings, so it would be with my "Guide to Divorce for kids".

Can't be done.

I think you just have to do the best you can and hope they get a good enough job to afford the therapy later on in life... and to find a good therapist too!!