Making It Real

Writing Fiction for You-Broken Hallelujahs

Imagination is a great gift. I just finished reading Helen Fisher’s book Why Him? Why Her? She is an anthropologist who specializes in researching how our personalities are formed in utero. It’s very interesting and helpful to understand how people perceive and think according to the science of biochemicals- the nature of our creation.

According to her research and studies, one personality type has a great imagination and is the most communicative of the four types of personalities. They use words and imagination more than perhaps another group.

I’m not sure if all this holds up accordingly to nature vs. nurture, or if one group has more of a quality than another, but I am always on a quest for understanding human nature. It is also why I write fiction. Each morning, I journal as a way to put random thoughts down and to warm up before I begin writing seriously.

Sometimes I am inspired to write here in this space, a blog of hopefully more thought and meaning. I also listen to meditative sounds or people in the morning. It was just this morning that I listened to a favorite of mine. Nail Breslin, a Irishman, who has a podcast Wake Up/Wind Down on Spotify. He talks of Leonard Cohen’s famous song Hallelujah. He explains the meaning of some of the lines, specifically:

Well, maybe there’s a God above
As for me all I’ve ever learned from love
Is how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
But it’s not a crime that you’re hear tonight
It’s not some pilgrim who claims to have seen the Light
No, it’s a cold and it’s a very broken Hallelujah

He interprets this song as the subject of love and vulnerability, how there is a line between being vulnerable in love and being broken by love. And when he does, I see it! I have always loved this song due to the mixed references to the Biblical characters: Samson (she tied you to a kitchen chair, and cut your hair) and King David. He mixes the stories of the two men and how love and lust ruined them. Nail points out another idea: that loving is opening yourself to the deepest vulnerability, and that sometimes this is a broken hallelujah. Sometimes we sabotage love, or we give love to the wrong person.

The right music with the right lyrics can have such power in our lives. I love to write long stories (novels), but I say if I could write a song and lyrics that are powerful, evoking a person’s heart and thought, it would be a big accomplishment!

I don’t write music though and my poetry is passable. I write fiction because I want to portray the vulnerability of humans, of their pain, anxieties, and fears, along with feelings of euphoria, of love, of joy, of finding something deeper and binding in an experience or with a person. Writer’s have the choice of saying something through a story.

With each book I write, I explore themes of human nature. In my first novel, In Search of Madonna, the theme is restoring loss through the acquisition of a painting, a painting that draws in certain individuals needing healing and wholeness.

In my second novel, The Steerage, I explore revenge. What happens to a human heart when they seek revenge, a revenge so deeply anchored in the mind that murder is a much considered option.

We as people are all broken hallelujahs. Storytelling gives us a place to connect, to understand, and to hope as we read and feel the character’s story. I hope my talent for storytelling is enough to connect a reader, even for a few moments to their own brokenness, their own vulnerability, their own value and precious hallelujah of their life, their sacredness.

If I can do this. If I can tell a story with my imagination and bring you in to yourself, I have achieved something worthy of a great Leonard Cohen song!


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