Part of being a writer to me is being able to write about anything.
Now I’m not saying that all subjects or stories are worth telling, but as a writer I want to be honestly able to approach any idea and at least take a crack at it. I think it’s very possible to talk about subjects with which I am not comfortable and not glorify them, but rather approach them from my unique world view.
But there are some stories that live only in my head.
Some of them are personal stories. Some that I may have shared with others but never in a formalized way. One of the reasons for this is I don’t really believe in writing as catharsis. I write to create, to comment, to share something with the world, not to make myself feel better. (Okay, that’s not entirely true, I did write a story once after being rejected for a dance but that’s a tale for another time).
Even when I share some of my ambiguous feelings about my thyroid cancer, I’m doing so not because I’m wanting to feel better, but rather trying to share the rather odd and unique perspective on life I’ve gained. Writing brings ideas and thoughts to life, not events.
Some subjects are simply dark. Amazon recently ran a special on Requiem for a Dream. My reaction was “no thanks, saw the movie, don’t want to relive it in slow motion.” But what must it have been like to write such a book, or other great tragedies? I have to believe that story took a toll on the writer as much as the reader. Yet dark stories have something to tell us too, and I’ve often wondered about exploring more tragic themes, more human vulnerable moments.
I’m not sure if it’s life experience or just knowing the right way to approach. Not every writer can writer every book, and there are some stories that were meant to come from a certain person, but this doesn’t mean I don’t want to stretch my legs a bit.
I’ve never suffered from a shortage of ideas, and I’m starting to believe it is the responsibility of a writer to know what stories not to tell, as well as which to tell. Some stories live with you once you’ve read them. Certain thoughts never leave your mind. It might be the humane thing for a writer to keep those sorts of disturbing images to themselves rather than inflict them on others.
I don’t want to give you guys the wrong impression. As evidenced by yesterday’s story, my writing tends to be of the more light and funny variety. I’m not hiding a deep dark secret, but there are some stories I just haven’t figured out how to write yet. Maybe you’ll see them, maybe you won’t. I have a feeling no matter how long I do this there will be ten times as many stories I didn’t write.
What about you? Any subject you won’t touch? Any personal story you’ve thought about fictionalizing?