Most of us don’t go through life expecting a disaster. But sometimes, life takes a turn none of us were expecting. A frightening turn. A life-changing turn. For Ridgecrest and Trona, that turn came in the form of the July 2019 earthquakes.
During the July meeting of my writers’ club, members expressed how hard it was to get back into writing, especially creative writing, after the crisis. I know, for me, it was excruciating to even think about putting words on paper. I was exhausted, terrified, uncertain, confused, and depressed. It was a wash of jumbled emotions that crowded my brain with white noise. Every jolt—be it aftershock, washing machine rumbling, or subwoofer—spiked my anxiety. Creativity was the last thing on my mind.
But I couldn’t shake myself out of the cloud of gloom suffocating me. I am a writer. It’s how I express myself, how I interpret and come to terms with the world around me and the situations I and others live through. Without writing, I am an incomplete soul. So I had to find a way to recover on my terms. I turned to books. I read a great play I had been meaning to read—‘night Mother by Marsha Norman. It gave me the healthy perspective I needed on my personal experience with those quakes. I recognized that I was not at the rock bottom situation of the protagonist. I knew I could still fight and push forward. Then I began to process my experiences. The interview with Joan Raymond helped a huge amount as it allowed me to write my story, to not only share the experiences, but actually write about them in my voice.
There is no rush to recovery. We all move at our own pace. But I want to encourage our members who have perhaps felt lost or unable to write after these events to confront and share their own story. Write it down. It can help you break through that prison of anxiety and get you back into your writing passion. That way, like the California Writers Club motto says, we can “Sail On!”