Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Relative Peace and Quiet

I know! I should be cleaning! But this is just so much more fun, and it's something else I can cross off my to-do list today.

I've been thinking a lot about what I write, for whom and why - and, at the same time, what I don't write, and why.

I'll pose the question back to you, at the end of this post.

So, yeah...I'm getting caught up on some old posts, writing about things I should have written about weeks ago. Like...staying at Aunt Shirley and Uncle David's place - almost a month ago, already!

Imagine, sitting out on a patio in the middle of the country side, surrounded by the sounds of crickets and cicadas and the gently falling rain - and writing! Unfortunately, all that peace and quiet is incongruous with writing about werewolves, guns and other nasty creatures, but the experience was quiet enjoyable, just the same!

And then, at some point that first afternoon, I was deep into a scene about sneaking around town, chasing a potential cannibal, when all of a sudden I felt a gentle pressure on my foot. I looked down and nearly jumped out of my jeans.


What is it with me and chipmunks?

And then, later in that same week, family descended on the Nortcliffe country home - my oldest cousin Andrew and his wife Julie (my cuz-in-law), and their baby, Skyler (pictured left); my youngest cousin, Tim and his sister, Jen, with her son Titus; my middle cousin Heather; plus Aunt Nancy, Aunt Sandra, Aunt Shirley and Uncle David, two country neighbours (one of whom I babysat when she was only 2 years old), and me, all on one mosquito plagued porch - at least 14 people on that porch, and 16 simultaneous conversations. And what was I thinking about? Werewolves and biting people. (I'm not particularly good around crowds of any sort, including family gatherings.) However, socializing and writing are mutually exclusive, so, writing waited. And I didn't bite anybody! (On the right, that's me not biting Skyler. Below, you see Titus introducing Skyler to the world of books - especially books about one's family. Good job, Titus. Good job.)

But it really made me think about what I was doing, and why. What I wanted to do was write; but at the same time, I knew I should be socializing, because I never know when I'm going to have the opportunity again! That's the thing about writing: you can't write about people unless you spend time with them, but you can't write without spending time alone!

And then I started to think about the material itself. I've talked to my friends (and fellow writers) about this too. Part of me wants to write the story the way it wants to be written - and the other part of me never leaves church - nor the family.

Because of that, there are certain scenes I want to write, but I won't, and there's a certain level of detail I could achieve, but for decency's sake, I avoid.

Because of that, there are certain words I want to use - words that would, I think, be appropriate in some circumstances (when you hear a gunshot, sometimes a gasp isn't good enough!) - but I've promised kith and kin I won't use them.

And there are stories I want to write - true stories I want to write - but I can't, because I don't want to bring about dishonour on my family. And there are some stories you can't - and shouldn't - fictionalize.

So, here's my question back to you: should you write whatever you want, irrespective of what others (specifically, your family) might want you not to write? Or should you heed their concerns and tone it down?

If you're serious about getting something published, do you write it for your audience, for your family, or for you?

No comments:

Post a Comment