Today the thought more than occurred to me many of us burn the candle of our lives fearing the winds of disapproval, failure, success, and low self-esteem. Over the course of my writing career, which officially blossomed in 2008 with the publication of Fatherhood 101: Bonding Tips for Building Loving Relationships, I’ve discovered if I feel something, many others feel much the same.
I know. Alert the media. This epiphany may not be news for many people, but for many others, coming to an understanding of the reasons why you hold yourself back can be freeing. Too many years I’ve tempered my writing so as not to offend. Then I read all these writers taking a stand on political issues, religious issues, business issues, inter-personal issues. People get bold and just throw out to the world their stance and views on all these subjects and many more.
I wonder at what it would take for me to do something like that. To take my somewhat conservative, Christian right perspective and spew it about as if I knew it all. That’s the ‘nub of the gist’ as my beloved Monty Python once said. I won’t write about something unless I know what I’m talking about.
I know from what I’ve read and seen in life, that politicians at the federal level are corrupted by a corrupt system. I’ve seen it at the state level as well, of course. But I’ve also traveled to Panama and the Philippines and Mexico and a number of other places. I’ve seen the graft, the blatant hording of money by politicians and the abject poverty of their constituents. I’ve seen countries whose corruption dwarfs ours.
I know the media we suffer under is wicked on many levels with political and corporate agendas driving their productions. Again, I’ve seen much worse in other countries. I’ve also read and seen media squelched by corrupt governments that desire to not only maintain their wealth and power but their stranglehold on their oppressed populations.
But let’s be real here. The drug cartels are not going away until there is no market to sell to. Any reasonable, logical person can understand that concept. Even if all the governments made illegal drug usage and sales punishable by death, the drug industry would not go away. Humans cannot even agree on the dangers of illicit drug use. We cannot agree on religion. We cannot agree on population control. We cannot agree on morality. The list goes on and on and on.
So, for me to take a stand in any of these areas, I must examine the fact that I have no more an answer than the talking heads on television. The world-wide talking heads, whether they be politicians, rebels, heads of state, or Joe Plumber. I so know this – some of what I write resonates with a portion of the world’s population. Some of what I write might get me killed by other portions of the world population.
My passion and desire is to write about something universal – emotions. Yet, even here, the disparity of views can overwhelm a writer. Something I write about a particular emotion may prompt a reader to ‘thumbs up’ a particular piece of writing, while the next reader may mumble and call me all sorts of names.
A writer MUST select a direction for his/her writing. Some of us get down to the nitty gritty and write things in very base terms. Others prefer more of an eloquent crafting of words as their artistic contribution to humanity. When all is said and done, MY view is that each writer SHOULD write scared. Once you’ve created your written statement, cleaned it up, and poised to send it out into the world, I feel a writer should possess a level of concern. A level of fear. Not immobilizing, petrifying fear.
More a fear of challenge. If you don’t write something that challenges your own mind, your own knowledge, your own skills, you may stay mired in mediocrity for your entire writing life. In this day and age, the writers who allow themselves to step outside their personal comfort zones appear to garner the ‘following’ most writers crave. Let’s face it – if you write, you desire to be read.
Few people want to read ‘vanilla’ this day and age. I don’t know that people over the centuries ever wanted ‘vanilla’ writing. The definition of ‘vanilla’ has changed as social mores have changed. Bland articles and pedantic books do not get the attention the more passionate, in-your-face writing grabs.
All this being written, I’m challenging myself as a writer, to step out, make some bold statements, take the flack that is sure to come as well as any pats-on-the-back, and see what comes of it. Recently I was in the mode of writing highly sexually themed stories. Not graphic, mind you. Graphic does little for me as a reader and writer. I’m now trekking down ‘death’s’ writing trail. Death, love, and poetry appear to be the themes of the fiction I currently write.
I’m going to write it all a little scared from this point on. I’m going to challenge my own views. I’ve already caused some discomfort with some of my writers group readers. I count this a good thing. We’ll see how things go from here. So, all your writers out there, challenge yourself and write scared – scared enough to confront some of your fears.