Round and about I’ve seen people asking variations of “why do you write what you write”… which is not to say that’s not the first or perhaps second thing people ask anyway. Yes, I guess “what do you write” comes first. And I don’t think on the surface the answers to the first and second question seem to have much in common.
Anyway, tonight (this morning) I’ve been thinking about it. What I write and why. Working my way into the thought from the end, I guess, in that I was talking with a twitter-friend about tragedy. (For anyone who questions the wonderfulness of social networks, I will give you myspace to do with as you please but I am keeping Facebook and Twitter as invaluable.) When I think of all of my work, I guess the theme is tragedy. Which isn’t to say that all of the stories are tragedies, and maybe all work has this in common because how can you capture even a snapshot of someone’s life and have it be devoid of tragedy. For me, it isn’t necessarily having the tragedy be in the present – but having the tragedy, its aftermath be present.
The question that connects everything I’ve written (with the possible exception of that time I pretty much plagiarized Anne Of Green Gables when I was in the fifth grade) – well, it’s more a concept. It’s not as linear as a question. It’s an attempt at painting a picture from the inside out. It’s the moment after you know. Whatever the tragedy entails – death, divorce, betrayal, failure. I’d say death is the most painful but we don’t live by comparison, do we, so if there is a sufficient loss of hope, that’s all it takes. Betrayal feels like death if there’s no hope left.
Whoever she is (usually a she, anyway) – what does she do, if she does anything. How does she respond to the fact that she still can; what are the recognizable pieces of her chaos and how do I make it recognizable. How does an individual person respond to our shared unintentional – defiant – resilience?
Which I guess makes Cora the most like me.
The reason the question (why do you write) used to bug me is because I guess I was thinking about the act of writing. I write because I love to write. Duh. Why else. And I wouldn’t say I write because I want to know the answer to the above concept in a myriad variations, but I suppose I investigate it through my writing because my writing is how I make things linear, how I succeed at it. I guess I wouldn’t keep doing it if it weren’t successful. 🙂 Journaling, essay, novel or script writing. I find the beginning of the string and untangle. In my head it looks like something that is simultaneously a needle and a pen and the ink is the end of chaos. …But it’s also 3:50 in the morning. “These are the jokes, kid.”
What do I write. I write about someone, always from the perspective of a premise that begins at tragedy, processing or not processing. It’s really easy to lose sight of plot, I’m being entirely honest. But only so many people read that kind of literature so only so many people will be encouraged or comforted or validated through it, which is why that’s not something I’ll overlook. And the funny thing is that sentence up there – it doesn’t determine genre or tone or lightness. I wrote a contemporary YA (mostly romance because I was boy crazy) starting from the same concept. And it was fun-loving!
“Remember how alive with pleasure they said we were?”
I think that’s enough. But now we know. This is what happens when I don’t write about the nonsensical. #whoops