Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's Dark in Here

I've noticed this odd pattern emerging, and not just with me.

When I first started writing seriously again, all the stuff I wrote had some element of darkness in it. Bad things happening to good people. Something horrible happening to a child. People just generally messed up because of bad things that had happened or were happening to them.

Over the years since, although I still have this tendency to lean towards the darker side of life, I have started to write somewhat nicer, gentler pieces. But they always lack that oomph that is so apparent in all the bad stuff.

I looked back at this and discovered that when I was writing all dark stuff, I was in a relatively dark place in my life. Thankfully, I got out of that, but what happened was weird, too. When I wrote something, it wasn't as full of energy. Or worse, I didn't write at all.

In the years since, I have tried to balance and write just because I wanted to write. It didn't matter what came out. And still some weird stuff did.

In a class I am teaching right now, some of the students are writing a lot of dark stuff. It's an introductory class. For many of these students it is the first class they've ever taken. And they are writing that darkness that I was so familiar with.

Why do we do that? Do other writers do that? When you first start out, maybe the writing is meant to be cathartic. Meant only to get all the bad stuff out to get to the good stuff. Which shouldn't be any less creative.

In my opinion, creativity is creativity whether it's dark or happy or claustrophobic or somewhere in the middle. I write about things I want to know more about. And it just so happens I want to know more about the way the mind works. Why people do the things they do. There is darkness in all of us though we don't care to admit it. It doesn't mean we are bad people. We just have a curiosity in that side of humanity. Or lack of humanity. However you choose to look at it.

I have a hard time believing anyone who says or thinks their world is full of unicorns and rainbows.

But just because your creativity stems from a dark place, or from a happy place, or an abstract place, does that mean we are any less creative? I don't think so.

I've had many a writing teacher tell me, "whatever gets you to the page". Great words to live by, I think.

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