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Cathartic writing is like releasing the gauge of a pressure cooker. It enables you to ventilate and let the steam out, providing all important emotional release. Some people are reluctant to express their feelings on paper because they have been told that it is self indulgent or they feel that what they see on paper will not be very pretty. Frankly, what emerges in the journal can be far from pretty. The good, the bad and the ugly all come pouring onto the page when you make cathartic writing a practice. Often it feels like the pages are full of wailing's and moaning. But who cares? The chances of this journal becoming your autobiography are pretty slim. Besides, like Karen Blixen you can always turn the pages into ash to protect yourself.

Put your primal screams on the page, look at them with the eyes of a detached observer and then calmly move on. For move on you will! With all the poison out of your system you will find yourself using this medium to express all sorts of deep emotions. A book that I recommend is Tristine Rainer's 'The New Diary'. In this Rainer explores numerous devices to help transform personal problems or crisis into positives.

Meanwhile, let your fingers do the walking. There are some wonderful examples of cathartic writing for you to explore right here on the internet. Elise Tomex at Opine Bovine wrote a striking piece about her mother and here at Soul Food you can read about How Love Hurts.

I always enjoy reading Jon Carroll and invariably wish I could write like him. His recent article 'Stirring the Ashes of Memory' is a fine example of using cathartic writing. Similarly Kit Dove's moving tribute to his father is an example of just what a healthy release can come from writing and creatively addressing grief. When my father died I turned to words and found that my muse was there to console and comfort me. Kit Dove inspired me to put the reading I prepared up onto the net to publicly declare my feelings at the time of my father's death. Writing helped me to put things into perspective and pick up the pieces and continue, with my head held up, proud to be my fathers daughter.

So! Take the step now! Make a start in your special Chocolate Box journal. For ideas about what to write go to Peeling the Onion and explore how Soul Food Cafe patrons are using cathartic writing on the Onion Peeler Forum.