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Write On!
January, 2008

Greek Ghosts

Alternative Analysis
Writing on the emotional edge ups the ante for connecting
By  Ken Robinson

herapy can be expensive.

You know what Iím talking about. You pay someone exorbitant amounts of money to listen to you complain about and blame your mother for everything that has ever gone wrong in your life, including (especially!) that ingrown toenail in Ď84. But thereís an inexpensive alternative.

The following is a first-person account. I once had, over the holidays, an unforeseen, one-sided separation in a long-term relationship. I should have seen it coming, what with all the strife and stress that had been going on. I had also just begun writing horror and thriller screenplays. Now I donít watch scary movies so as not to scare myself to death with a nightmare, mid-sleep.

Like the one where a ferocious dachshund with 100 legs has escaped from a canine asylum for the criminally insane. I wake up, realize itís trying to scuttle and wheeze and sputter and buzz up onto the bed and gnash its way under the covers. It comes for my head, foaming at the mouthful of exacto-knife teeth. Although it turns out to be Jake the one-eyed wiener-dog with four short legs, my heart still races.

And, yeah, it did happen when I watched The Grudge. My bed sheets too almost paid the ultimate price.

But I digress. In the last few years, since I started writing the scary, gruesome stuff, somewhere around 81 victims have met an untimely and, generally, altogether unique demise at my hand. Some even deserved it.

I can honestly say, though, that Iíve resisted taking to the streets and killing people randomly, even when a situation in my life made me really, really want to. A counselor confirmed that this was a win-win situation both for me and random people on the street. She also said that bottling up those emotions would eventually lead to the cork popping off under immense pressure.

So I became a pseudo serial killer in my writing. I came to enjoy knocking off anyone I wanted, any way I wanted, and as painfully as I wanted. If you read some of it youíll see that I was one very, very angry dude. And I thought I was handling it all quite well.

Some people can discuss their problems with other people. For others thatís not even an option. They do much better writing about them in journals and blogs and such. Some writers use a fictionalization of the real life drama, wherein the characters they create deal with the emotional fallout of the trauma. As the character goes, so goes the writer.

This last month of December has given me, as well, plenty of literary fodder. My mother died from complications of cancer. Within one week (and two hours) my mother in law passed, from motor neuron disease akin to Lou Gehrigs disease. Both are very debilitating, dignity-diminishing diseases.

My mom had had cancer for some time, but chemotherapy had kept it somewhat under control, until last month. She didnít actually die from the cancer. Growths in her intestines stopped up her intestines so she couldnít eat. The doctors didnít even offer to operate. She literally wasted away. When I found out I was in denial for about a week or so. Iím now in the anger stage.

For comic relief, I had a root canal the week between the two. But I hope I can put the anger to good use. The experts in all the writing books say to write what you know, so, well, this is what I know right now. Iím also channeling all this energy into a script dealing with the issue of death.

The script may turn out to be a piece of garbage, but when youíre to others in a profound way. When itís this close to you itís your voice that is speaking, not a bad copy of someone elseís.

Iím not sure if itís the audienceís life experience or the writerís emotional energy that infuses a scene with the visceral charge it needs to come to life. Itís likely some sort of combination of the two. I am certain that itís emotional engagement that keeps readers coming back, again and again, to the best works of literature.

Whether all of this will help me get through the grieving process, I donít know. Hopefully, one day Iíll be able to look back on it all with resolution and say,

ďIt sure did!ĒIN Icon

Ken Robinson grew up and lives in Oklahoma. After five years in Ireland, he's been writing screenplays for two and a half years. Four of his scripts have been optioned by Woofenil Works, two low-budget projects now in preproduction, as well as West Law. His email address

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Writerís Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails weíve known;
Each writerís block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
Itís how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Donít plant your poem on the page
As though youíre hanging drapes;
Itís shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their ďthemes.Ē

Double Vision
A writerís life is paradox,
Itís more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know youíll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poemís through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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