Being angry is new to me. Not the emotion itself but the acceptance of the emotion. I spent a lot of time denying my anger, telling myself that anger at others was selfish, mean spirited or wrong. I spent time thinking about the fault in myself that allowed anger to exist, rather than seeing it as a natural part of me, one of the natural state of being that need to be moderated, not suppressed. For the longest time I only let anger have one guilt-free target, me. But I’m learning and growing, slowly, and lately I have come to realize that acknowledging my anger at others is ok. The emotion isn’t bad, it just is. I’m striving (in this new world) to moderate my anger and actions because I want to learn from my emotions and triggers without changing the person I am (the person I like most of the time). I want to experience, learn and move on, not dwell. It’s still a work in progress but for now I’m focussed on telling myself, “it’s ok”. (Do other people learn this sort of thing early in life, or are we all struggling with this?)
I wonder if this new realization will make me a better writer. Maybe accepting my own anger will make it more “ok” for me to write a character that expresses deep anger…
(I wrote this sentence on the weekend watching my niece struggle to obey a rule while seeing others get away with breaking it. She succeded. I was so proud of her, and sad that she had to learn the lesson. Sharing it here seemed appropriate considering the blog topic.)
“Confused and angry with the righteous indignation of a child seeing broken, a rule they have mastered.”
Passion, anger, lust, greed, jealousy. We all have emotions we try to suppress. Ones that we judge too powerful or unworthy of our character. Choose one of your characters and think of their key emotional characteristic, then play with strengthening it. Blow the emotion out of proportion, bigger is better. Then set your character in a situation where that emotion would come out and let them explode. Spend ten minutes writing about their emotional reaction. Now, reverse it. Have your character know their emotional “weakness” and suppress that emotion. Then put them back in the same situation where it would naturally come out and re-write the scene. Which was harder?