Writing Fury

Writing on fire or writing when everything is on fire is difficult. I’ve been silent on current events not because I suffer from amnesia but because I have so much to say. But one thing I know from experience is that writing from a place of anger is never a good thing, for me. What has been happening in the US provokes. And each time it happens I think, will this ever end; the discrimination, victimization, injustice…

“Anger … it’s a paralyzing emotion … you can’t get anything done.” ~ Toni Morrison

I’ve been asking myself how does a writer respond to this moment in history. And Jericho Brown challenges in his poem, Thrive, “You don’t get to be a poet without publicly asking questions that people say it’s rude to answer in public.”

Like most, who know too well about the injustices of racism, I don’t have the luxury to be silent or look the other way. Yet my intention is not to deliver solidarity on hot coals nor do I want to tiptoe around certain topics in an attempt to write cheerfully and agreeably, while the world is ailing. Mind you, we’re still battling a pandemic!

“It’s a clear manifestation of the suppressed anger and sadness we’re told to get over and stop harboring.” ~ KE Garland

Some of my American friends (black and white) I’d recently spoken to want justice, peace and acceptance of one another. I want all these things and more for you, and with you. As you might have witnessed protests around the world, all those against racism stand with you. Please take comfort in that.

Of course, I’ve been reading and inspired by how other writers are responding to these events. To name but a few, here are some writers that inspire:

So, on that note, I feel it’s the right time to take a blogging break and as I normally do every summer. I’ll be concentrating on writing and reading.

Be well, be safe and see you in August! 

Khaya Ronkainen
Khaya Ronkainen is a writer, poet and blogger. Her blog focuses on poetry and creative nonfiction, and also features poets and their books.

15 Comments

  1. Thanks for this, Khaya, and for including me. True: Writing from a place of anger and hopelessness may allow us to vent, but it can’t be only that. enjoy your break and your writing.

  2. Well said, Khaya, and thank you for the links. Have a peaceful summer, and enjoy the time.

    Our gardens are growing at a rapid pace now, and I am working hard to keep up with everything. That connection with the Earth and its promise of new life and bountiful harvests is a healing thing.

  3. I agree, rage that can’t be inked into something better does nothing good for anyone.

    Read you back when the break is over!

  4. All the injustice in the world is absolutely devastating. Not surprised that writing has become more difficult for you, as a result. Wishing you all the best during your blogging break! <3

  5. Wise, wise words. In my experience, writing in anger has its place, but those words rarely get shown to other eyes. They are sealed in a journal somewhere, just a tool to outlet my pain at the time just for me. I hope you stay safe and healthy through your blogging break and look forward to your words when you return. Your perspective is one so many people need to read.

  6. August? I am now back and you are going? 🙂

    Rage? No, I don’t feel rage at all. I feel so sad that this is happening to our fellow blacks, and sickened. If you can check my blog for a poem I wrote for George Floyd, May his soul rest in perfect peace.

  7. Rage and grief have been keeping each other company around here. I am trying to remember that rage properly channeled can be fuel for good and productive feelings and that grief acknowledged leads to growth. But it is not always easy. The best I can do is drink up as much joy as I can (and thankfully I have lot around me to give me joy — long walks with the hubs are awesome) and find a way to deal with the rest.

  8. Very thoughtful piece, Khaya. As I read this, I wonder, in addition to the strong emotion being paralyzing, if the great profundity of what is happening just surpasses the power of words, leaving those of us who tend to rely on them reeling. Thank you for the resources. I will check them out.

  9. Thank you for this, very timely, glad I could read it. What’s happening in the world is difficult to ignore and I’ve been struggling with my novel. Initially it had a light touch on an emotional topic (slavery) but since, in the current climate, my anger has tainted it without realizing it. Forty-five thousand words in I have to take a break and recharge.

  10. Khaya, writing from a place of anger is never wise … well at least not if it is for public release. For oneself, one can maybe find it a place to describe the desperate emotions. There is so much at the moment I feel overwhelmed with it all and prefer to concentrate on the minutae of life; well aware of my blessing in life that I can do this, appreciating the relative safety of my life. Recently I’ve been watching ‘Becoming’ on Netflix. I read the book last summer and I’m reminded again about the sense of hope 12 years ago, although I was shocked to see the vitrolic abuse she faced leading up to the election and thereafter. To me it beggers belief … but watching events in the US I’m lost for words.

    Khaya, enjoy your holiday, hope you find the inner peace for much writing, harmony within your soul. I very much miss our summer in Sweden this year – feels like a gaping whole and SO long since we were there!

    Take care, hugs, Annika xx❤️

  11. Even with my brother-in-law STILL on a ventilator, battling to live, I think this pandemic has an important influence: it has disrupted our daily routines, pierced the bubbles we all have been living in… given us time to see, to think, and to measure what is right and wrong in the world that we have been conveniently “too busy” to notice… We have nothing else to do, nothing else to see, nothing else to think about. And the longer our governments cannot or will not help the soon-to-be starving, homeless masses, the LARGER this world protest will grow, the more unified our voices, the greater the vision. Perhaps this awful Hell is the fire of transformation, even as it devours many we will forever love and miss…Maybe this is the catalyst of Real Change…

  12. The racism here has been/is awful here, Khaya. But there’s hope too, finally, that we’ll see some deep and lasting change. Racism is so embedded in our systems that change won’t be fast or easy, but it will come. Demonstrations continue in spite of brutal efforts to suppress them, and so many people of all colors are filled with hope. I’m hopeful too, that come November, we will have an amazing brown-skinned woman as our Vice President. Keep speaking up. It’s important. Hugs.

  13. Thanks for the nod to earthweal, Khaya. I experience the dilemma of wanting to write uplifting things but finding myself in a time of HUGE injustices, too impossible to not bear witness to. I cant seem to write about hearts and flowers when so many people are suffering under a knee on their neck. Also the climate crisis is accelerating and being ignored under the distracting and ghastlky rhetoric coming from a certain despot. The climate crisis grieves me, as you know, especially for the animals, wild and domestic, who suffer because of it and who have no voice. So I appreciate this thoughtful piece. I suspect that is the work we poets can do – to spread awareness, to speak truth, to be a voice for Mother Earth and for the voiceless. And if we can manage to do so in a way that inspires, so much the better. It is our task, I think. Things are so horrible that, as long as the wrong person is not elected, they can only get better. And then our poems can be about healing the divisions, soothing the pain, rolling up our sleeves and getting to the work of rebuilding.

Do leave a trace!

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