Wednesday, May 1, 2019

IWSG & The Power of Story

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.



Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

***

May 1 question - What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Great question!

One of my earliest memories of the power of the written word was when I read Little Women.

Major Spoiler Directly Ahead!

In the book, one of the characters, Beth, dies. It was the first time I'd read about the death of a character. It was the first time fiction ripped into my soul and cracked my heart.

Devastated, I sobbed, raced through the book, and started it again.

Maybe this time, Beth would be okay.

I was obviously pretty young - young enough to hope that the words might have magically changed, that this character I loved would live.

Not sure I ever looked at fiction the same way again. The power of story continued to lure me, but I kept one eye on the author, wondering what choice he or she would make. And why.

How about you? Do you remember that first tragedy that you read?The first book that broke your heart?

62 comments:

  1. The first death and tragedy - now that's a poignant moment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is. I've never forgotten that moment!

      Delete
  2. Hoping the story would change somehow - I've reread books for the same reason.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's funny how we believe that! I'm still tempted with some stories :)

      Delete
  3. Although the material is sad, this is a wonderful memory and a useful tool that shows the importance and power of words. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was powerful! And my memory of childhood is very fuzzy - except for a few moments of startling clarity like this one

      Delete
  4. I can't really remember the first book that broke my heart, but I do remember the Anne Of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery which made a huge impression on me, and which I devoured as a teenage girl.
    Happy IWSG Day, Jemi!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I adore Anne!!! Read the series multiple times. And every time I read it, Mathew's death flattens me. Another death that has haunted me over the years.

      Delete
  5. I sobbed and sobbed when I read Little Women. Gosh, you've brought a ton of childhood memories back with this post. I loved the other books in the series too. Just devoured them as a kid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too. Although it took me a while to try the next books because I was so afraid Jo was going to die next!

      Delete
  6. I'd forgotten all about Little Women and the reaction I had to Beth's death. I think that may have been the first character I'd ever read about that died, too. Thanks, Jemi.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh my gosh, I loved Little Women!

    That was probably the first tragic death I read. The first one I *saw* was Bambi in the theater at 6. I don't think I've recovered...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did as well!
      And Bambi ... still have a hard time with that one too.

      Delete
  8. Bambi - that's the first book I remember really hitting me hard. I had seen the Disney movie and it didn't prepare me for the heartbreak in the book. And nearly anything by Hans Christian Anderson - he wrote some tough fairy tales.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bambi ripped my heart out as well!
      I was a little older when I read HCA so I think that helped - they're not as imprinted on my heart!

      Delete
  9. Congrats on your win, Jemi!

    I never found tragedy when I read, but I was looking for escape and spend time with Tolkien, Herbert, and Heinlein.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anna!
      I loved those books too - although I was quite a bit older when I found them. Just finished a re-read of LotR last week. So good!

      Delete
  10. Let's see--my first literary death must've been an animal, maybe Old Yeller or Where the Red Fern Grows?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh - heartbreak!!!
      Still can't go back to Ol' Yeller!
      I didn't read Red Fern until I was an adult - and I still bawled like a baby at the ending!

      Delete
  11. I still remember a horror book (the series was called Twilight, but not like sparkly vampire Twilight; more like Goosebumps but the books were bigger) called Vicious Circle. In it, the kid protagonist is haunted by a boy who it turned out was abused and killed by his parents and buried under the front porch along with other dead kids. Perhaps not the best topic for a 7 or 8 year old child to be reading, but it grabbed me so hard. I wanted those dead kids to be avenged, to live happy lives. They never got their happy ending and it devastated me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No kidding!! They totally deserved a happy ending!
      I used to have nightmares about what was hidden beneath our front porch ... wonder if I read those books along the way too!

      Delete
  12. It's amazing the impact stories can have on us. They can bring you great joy and equally great sadness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They can! Well written stories stay with us for a long time!

      Delete
  13. I'm not sure which was the first tragedy that I read about but I loved Little Women as a kid.

    ReplyDelete
  14. When I read "Beth," I thought of my character Beth and was like, "But she's still alive." Then I got it. lol That moment in Little Women still breaks my heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL - yep, that other Beth! :)
      It does to me as well, so sad.

      Delete
  15. Books can affect us so vividly! I'm glad you shared this memory.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Yvonne, it's a pretty powerful one for me

      Delete
  16. Charlotte's Web comes to mind. I have arachnaphobia big time, but I loved Charlotte and was sad when she died. That said, spiders are still not welcome in my house, no matter what their names are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strangely I didn't read C's web until I was an adult - still struggled with tears over that one!
      I'm okay with spiders, but my sister is your soul mate :)

      Delete
  17. The first I remember that broke my heart was when Ginger died in Black Beauty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is my mom's favourite book! We were just talking about it today - she has dementia and doesn't remember everything but she loved that book!

      Delete
    2. I'm sorry your mom has dementia. I lost my mom to Alzheimer's. It's very hard. God bless you both.

      Delete
    3. Thanks Linda. It's a devastating disease. I'm so sorry about your mom. Hugs

      Delete
  18. It was tragic when Beth died!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. It was probably an animal book. Maybe Bambi. The book was not like the Disney movie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was NOT like the movie - and I was devastated with that one too!

      Delete
  20. I can't remember the first book I read that drew me back to reread hoping for a different ending, but I do enjoy those types of stories. The author has made the characters so real you feel you know them as friends.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! And losing a friend is so awful!! Beth was so very real to me, I just couldn't believe it

      Delete
  21. That's a great example. Not sure what was the first thing I read, but I recall when our teacher read Charlotte's Web aloud in class over a period of several days. I still recall how sad/happy/touched I felt at the end of the story.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a beautiful story! I didn't read that until I was an adult - and it still touched me deeply!

      Delete
  22. OMGoodness that was so tragic! My first memory of tragedy was when President Kennedy was assassinated. Every adult in my life, everywhere was devastated. I remember feeling so sad for Caroline because we were the same age.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh! That's a biggie!!! Those universal tragedies hit deep and hard!

      Delete
  23. That is a great example! Such a powerful story.
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
  24. The power of words. (big sigh.) They are powerful indeed.

    Teresa

    ReplyDelete
  25. I was an adult when I had a book affect that badly. It was Star Wars A New Jedi Order Vector Prime by R. A Salvatore. A beloved characters dies. I cried for two days and every time I thought about for a while. I was made too. So this new change in SW not so bad because that character still lives although they killed another one, dang them, but oddly it did not affect me as harshly,maybe because of the other experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe - it's devastating when a beloved character dies. I'm still not over quite a few of them

      Delete
  26. I don't know about the first tragedy I read, but this definitely goes to show the deeply powerful impact we can make just with words. Quite a responsibility!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is! Words wield so much power, and we wield the words .. little scary!

      Delete
  27. I don't remember the first book that affected me that way. Words definitely have power. Happy May!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy May indeed! We finally have a few daffodils and tulips showing their faces! :)

      Delete
  28. Beth's death was devastating. First time a book broke my heart was probably Where the Red Fern Grows. I sobbed myself sick over that one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really was devastating. I didn't read Red Fern until I was an adult and I still sobbed my heart out. Anne. *sigh*

      Delete
  29. I read so many books and some do stand out for me. Happy May, Jemi! I saw flowers are blooming now your way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nas. Yes, they are finally (FINALLY!!) blooming! Hope you're home safe and sound from your trip - loved the pics!

      Delete
  30. Interesting question! I think I first learned language had power with spoken language (as opposed to written). Charlotte's Web was probably the first book that made me feel deeply.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spoken language impacts us so greatly and so early!
      I didn't read C's Web until I was an adult - I'd have been a mess reading it as a kid!

      Delete