I've been writing without monetary rewards virtually all of my life. However I've stepped up the pace in the years since the death of my son in 1999, when I found that writing paid me in comfort and healing.
Writing about the unhappiness and tragedy in my life transfers the pain from my body onto the page. Writing is like an addiction to me; I get itchy if I don't do it. My office, where I write, is like magic to me. I could spend all day in there and never feel confined. I see the outside garden and the fountain from my writing table. The fountain attracts the most beautiful orange and yellow birds. Some have red heads, some take little dips in the pool, some surf on the leaves that hang over the fountain, some just hover over the water too wary to wade in. The time I spend writing in my office makes me feel so good. Writing leaves me no time for grieving.
Though Paul's death has been a horrendous loss, he left me with the wonderful gift of writing, especially poetry. Poems just came spontaneously after he died, and now I integrate writing poetry into the rest of my writing life.
Another gift is that is that I was able to create a book about him and his bipolar disorder and how my family and I survived his suicide. I wrote it let others know about the dangers of bipolar disorder and the frustrations of caring for an adult child with bipolar, that it is possible to survive the death of a child, and to keep Paul's memory alive. Even if I don't make a cent from book sales, if my book, Leaving the Hall Light On, benefits others I'll feel it is a success.
So it's not just the dollars that count. Writing has paid me in ways much more valuable
Causes Madeline Sharples Supports
Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center, Culver City, CA
Vistamar School, El Segundo, CA
Crossroads School, Santa Monica, CA (Endowment in...