As a fiction writer, it is not unusual for me to throw so much adversity at my characters that at least one (usually the protagonist) breaks under the strain and goes ballistic. Fury can feel righteous and justified, almost “good.” Ironically, though, it leads to compounded suffering, punishing the body, the mind, and the soul. Not of the “enemy,” but of the person who is furious. It can make for dramatic scenes in a story, and is a fascinating realm to explore. But in the nonfiction world of my real life, I think I’ll continue trying to hold resentment at bay, stay centered, choose the way of compassion, regardless of how far I’m pushed. I’ll just wait for the next novel, when I unleash the kraken of adversity on my characters yet again. Writing — it’s a vicarious, ballistic blast.
Justice does not require anger . . .
- by Tom Birdseye