I’ve recently started a writing class. It’s all about writing good stories. Surprise, surprise, in order to get there, it’s advisable to read (and dissect) stories. Part of the required reading was a story from Matt Summel, called American Ninja 2.
It’s a bit of an angry story, about a boy who did not have that picture-perfect family. His grandma just passed away, and even though he felt this didn’t bother him much at all, it was nonetheless one of those triggers that caused a whole arena of emotions to hit him hard in the face.
I posted my – not so favorable – comments on the story in the writing community. Soon after, a reply suggested I might feel different if I’d read the whole book, rather than just this abstract of it.
What was I to gain? I either read for pleasure or insights. At best both at the same time. The reviewers of the book seemed to enjoy the pureness of the characters’ anger. The honest portrait of the anti-hero. I still wasn’t convinced.
Well, this morning I passed the wastepaper basket, and my eyes were drawn to the title of a Magazin. It said: “Das falsche Gefühl” or in other words: “That wrong feeling”. It was about ignoring negative emotions and how doing that, wouldn’t make them any smaller. In short; it was a plaidoyer for allowing anger.
The article was well written; it contained a personal story of the author and how she learned how to deal with her anger and then went on to present some fascinating facts.
In Berlin, for example, you can now book a “Crash room”. You pay 150 EUR after which you have permission to demolish everything in the room. You get a hammer, a baseball bat, and an ax. Guess what; 70% of the clients are female.
An impressive lucrative business model. Would these women at home be colouring in adult colouring books?, I couldn’t help but wonder.
The article called out that anger has many purposes; It gives us warning signs, reliefs us from tension, it discloses our personal limits and is a great catalyst for change.
So I asked myself: Does that mean it could help to get angry at angry people? I’m doubtful. Where is such spiral going to lead to?
I’d much rather give people a hug. Which, by the way, is exactly what the angry Author in the article did, she’s become a mom and now has an angry little boy, when he infuriates, she lets him get it out and then gives him a hug.
Hugging likewise reliefs tension.
It could even make you realize there’s much less need to change anything at all.
We just may not need a catalyst that badly. Isn’t that a comforting thought?
And I am comforted by the idea I don’t need to read the book.