Friday Speak Out!: I’ll Cry If I Want To, Guest Post by Jeanine DeHoney

Friday, March 11, 2011
I’ll Cry If I Want To

by Jeanine DeHoney

I always loved the pop song, “It’s My Party,” by Lesley Gore. Lately as a writer I have found myself singing this song incessantly and taking poetic license with its lyrics. My version doesn’t mangle the original version too much, it just changes one imperative word.

“It’s my writing so I’ll cry if I want to, cry if I want to, yes cry if I want to…..” You see, bitter sweetness, melancholy, loss and sometimes unadulterated gloom have filtered its way into many of my stories. Several of the characters in my narratives grapple with the loss of loved ones, loss of power, dreams and hope. Even some of my children’s stories can not escape sorrow. There is always a storyline where a grandparent or parent passed away that causes a child to look off forlornly or wipe away tears whenever they think of them. Often times those grandparents or parents are my own, redressed in a different era, and I am that little girl missing them, longing to have them finish the job of nurturing me.

I write with a bare heart about issues I am passionate about, injustices I have witnessed, missteps I have taken, and stereotypes I deplore. I don’t want to constantly write about domestic violence but when I have a close friend who tries to hide her bruises, I must. I must write about our failing school systems, husbands who cheat, the gargantuan amount of young minorities in prison. Adversity plays with my head at night, and my only recourse is to not sleep it off like a hangover but to write until I can find peace.

Writing for me is ordered frenzy, it’s coming face to face with my fire-breathing demons, and sometimes that makes me want to curl up in a fetal position and bawl.

My bawling comes in the form of laying out words about incidents and places and people, and yes myself, who have damaged parts. I try to make sense of what has scarred me…us and wait for a solution to unfold so that at the end there is a lesson. My beginnings are thunderous like a rainstorm. My endings I hope like when the sky unwraps itself from the deluge of nature’s wretchedness and there appears a beautiful rainbow. The end is where my characters have the chance to redeem their lives. A chance to become victors instead of victims with the pressing of a few computer keys.

Robert Frost is quoted as saying, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader." It’s not that I want my readers to release a cascade of snotty nose tears, not at all. I just want them to know that after the gloomy party, a joyous party begins, one with a big cake and lots of festive decorations, one that celebrates the strengths and tenacity of the human spirit that inevitably comes after a waterfall of tears.

* * *

Jeanine DeHoney is a wife, mother, and grandmother of three, who is blessed to be able to write fulltime from her home with a view of trees in her backyard that seem to touch the sky. She has had her writing published in several magazines and blogs including Essence, Quality Woman’s Fiction, Mused-Bella Online,, Literary Mama, and on the blog Good Enough Mother. She has also been an essayist in "Chicken Soup for the African American Woman’s Soul," and the anthology "Living Lessons," and is a contributing writer to EsteemYourself E-magazine.


Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!



Loralie Hall said...

what a beautiful, bitter-sweet sentiment. A very good point, and a very well-said reality ^_^

Cayla Kluver said...

Paragraph three is amazing. This is a great post. :)

Sioux Roslawski said...

Jeanine--I love the idea of writing being "ordered frenzy." Great phrase!

e.a.s. demers said...

Beautiful words, spoken beautifully. Thank you for this post...

Lynn said...

I lurk on the Muffin but this is the first time I was brought to write a comment. This was an amazing post, and I think it captures perfectly what makes a great writer. Somehow we have come to believe that writing should be easy, yet when we go to do it we beat ourselves up a little when we can't. But great writing requires wrenching your heart out and looking at your insides on the outside. So few of us can do it, or perhaps I should say are willing to do it.

Thank you for sharing that!

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