Advice about achieving well-being is all around us – from tidying up our closets to eliminating processed foods from our diet. But for some of us, a commitment to practicing happiness may not be enough, if deep down we don’t believe happiness is possible.
Our beliefs are steeped in the stories we have lived, heard and told, and if we want to change our beliefs about happiness, then perhaps we can begin by transforming the stories we live by.
“Everyone thinks that they want happiness, but they might not. They might rather keep their stories about who they are and about what is impossible. Happiness is not an add-on to what you already are; it requires you to become a different person from the one who set off seeking it.”
Creative writing can help us to transform the stories we tell ourselves about what is possible, and research demonstrates that writing can help us to feel better.
Dr. James Pennebaker, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas, is a pioneer in the study of the health benefits of expressive writing. His findings indicate that writing can improve emotional and physical well-being.
It offers ways to discover and organize meaning, to understand, and reconcile –even recover from – something or someone in our past.
Because memory is subjective, it can be tenuous, conditional, and error-prone. There will be events and conversations that we only vaguely recollect. This can require that we synthesize a coherent narrative from what we know and what we believe to be true.
As imperfect as memory is, we must commit to writing with the intent to discover and reveal the deeper truth, not to hide or change it.
This book is for anyone who wants to use creative writing to feel better by externalizing their inner apocalypse. Using 25 writing prompts with evocative photographs, readers are encouraged to make meaning of their life experiences by discovering, emphasizing and illuminating changed perspectives. Every character and every story we write, is autobiographical. This means that though we may have felt like the walking dead at times, we have a chance at redemption. Writing apocalyptic stories can convey a message of change, and even hope. Ultimately, though your stories may be seeded from people you know, these characters have traveled through the system of you; your heart and spirit and mind. Consider writing a clearing of sorts. Our writing can transform us by offering opportunities to explore, examine, and understand outcomes from our lives, and to imagine alternatives. You can evoke a sense of justice and peace, not by changing outcomes (usually it’s too late for that), but by changing perspective.