What do you write about?
It’s the standard question I get when people find out I’m a writer. I typically respond that I write about “relationships,” which is largely true. My fascination with how people truly relate to one another–mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, siblings, friends–and the psychology of it all has only grown with time and understanding. So, yeah, that’s me in the corner, watching, listening, analyzing. (Am I a voyeur? Absolutely. People, strangers, are infinitely inspiring and intriguing. And really, once we step outside our homes, everything you and I do is subject to observation. Sorry if you wanted that loud argument with your wife in the middle of a public aisle in the grocery store to be private.) In fact, before I went with the Plan A of majoring in English in college, I actually wanted to be a Psychology major, with the hope of someday becoming a therapist. Yes. It’s true. I even wanted to start my own practice, the ultimate chance to fulfill my people fascination with the belief that I could also help people sort out their lives. Anyway, when I told my beloved Dad heard that, he nearly fell out of his chair and forbade it immediately. Perhaps he had visions of me psychoanalyzing he and my mother’s disciplining methods? (“How do you really feel about grounding me?”)
I digress. But you’re used to that, aren’t you? Re-reading some of my older work this past week, I realized that the same theme revealed itself over and over again: ordinary people meeting with extraordinary events. It’s a bit cliched, but I was writing stories about run-of-the-mill people reacting to hardly run-of-the-mill situations. Even a few doses of whimsy here and there. Back then, I prided myself on coming up with ideas and plots that I knew were solely from the trenches of my imagination. And they were always stories that I, from the vantagepoint of just a reader, enjoyed reading.
What’s changed with my newer work, you ask, because you know that’s where I’m going? Several years ago, I felt that my writing needed to become “real”. Relatable. I wanted my readers to think while reading, “I get this. I’ve experienced this.” However, in comparing the old with the new, I noticed a few things. I’ve stripped the extraordinary. The new ones are…they just are. But I write fiction, folks! Yes, I write about relationships. Yes, I include psychobabble here and there. But I also write fiction. And fiction may be based in reality, experiences, relationships, and psychology, but at its core, it’s “something invented by the imagination or feigned.” I want to go back to that! So it’s time to stop sacrificing the shiniest, giddiest parts of my imagination for relatibility. Instead, I’m going to experiment with blending the two. Truthfully, I’ve already started. I’ve restarted some of my older, unfinished works, which number in the hundreds, and we’re in the process of serious blending. So…
What do you write about?
The ordinary and the extraordinary.
And in the end: