What does poop have to do with grief?
Yes, my brain works in insane ways. I was cleaning out the litter boxes yesterday and two words popped into popped into my mind: poop and grief. Neither hubby or James take care of the litter boxes. They just don't have the stomach for it, so it's always been my responsibility. When Herbie died last August, I did a major cleaning, like getting rid of his scent in the house would make things all better. You really don't think grief will hit you all that hard, when it's an animal, but it does. I still see him out of the corner of my eye, sitting outside the patio door. Plus mom's been gone almost four years now. And there's the loss of a couple cyber relationships in my life that were very important. Grief comes in waves - some big that knock you over, and some little ones that misplaces the sand beneath your feet, making you take a step back. So what does this have with poop and the litter box?
Cat's poop and try to act nonchalant as half their body is outside the litter box, the other half inside, doing their business. They hid it, cover it up, Don't look at me, they say, eyes straight ahead, ignoring the human who happens to be walking by. Later you clean it out, sifting, scooping, tossing in a bag and/or flushing, depending on your way of doing things. We bag and throw it away. So - Grief.
Sometimes, you try to avoid it, but when you gotta...you gotta. You try to hide it, your public face versus the private face. When hiding it is no longer possible, you sift through and either throw it away or heaven forbid, put it back on the mental shelf for another day. I stumbled across What's Your Grief today and their article on Understanding Avoidance in Grief. One of the factors they listed on what avoidance of grief looks like is avoidance or denial of feelings or emotions. One thing that makes fiction writing or even non fiction writing so interesting as well as cathartic is writing with feeling, with emotion. But what happens when you deny those feelings. Yep, writer's block or rather writer's avoidance. Or like Sage Cohen says - it may be procrastination, may be incubation.
I worked through a few things while taking Flash non fiction, surprising myself quite a bit with the honesty, the emotion and discovering a few things in the process. Something I need to continue to work on - letting those emotions through, working them out, resolving and letting go. Yet, I've been avoiding doing so with my fiction.
I have a character in Eyes in the Ashes and his backstory involves the loss of his wife. I've wanted to write his story for quite a while but had been avoiding it. Too emotionally intense. And how do you explain to your hubby or son why you're crying over an imaginary person. Yep, writers. We get emotionally involved...when we let ourselves.
So what's the moral of this story - the relationship between poop and grief? Sift through the litter, scoop it out and throw the poop away. Whether you are throwing it away on the page or just out of your mind, let it flow, let it go.