Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Me... a bully?

A bully, I think, is someone who uses what power he has to dominate someone who hasn't got the power to defend him or herself from the attack.

Given that the best fictional writing is always in some ways autobiographical, and that the autobiography being told is generally not the work of a person whose friends are equally writers-of-fiction, then the question arises of whether the best writing is also always a form of bullying.

That is to say: a fictional writer uses his (or her) life as raw material for the creation of imaginative worlds, worlds that often become populated with people who are somewhat recognizable - at least, to the person upon whom they might be based. These persons might, in turn, experience this fictional "splashing of themselves" in the faces of strangers as a sort of violation. And since the violated in this case are not able to return the favor, then it would not be unreasonable to suggest that the person who has written these words is, in essence, bullying.

This is, for me, a predicament. I do not wish to be unkind, but neither do I feel creative enough to fabricate human beings out of thin air. Dramatic situations are difficult for me as well, and so I routinely pillage the circumstances of my life and the lives of those around me for writing fodder. This is also a sort of cheap therapy for me - a way of working out how I feel about the people in my lives, and the things that happen between us.

Sometimes, this pans out well for me. One of the first short stories I wrote for my "short-story-a-week" year in 2011 was based on conversations I'd had with a woman who ended up reading it and thanking me profusely for it; and the story I wrote recently about my brother landed some linkage on both his and his wife's Facebook page. On the flip side, though, I also did a wee bit too much processing of my divorce-turmoil on this blog, and my ex-wife had to eventually ask me to cut it out.

I can't seem to stop myself from appropriating pieces of my life for writing, though, so I guess I'll just have to hope that the people who know and love me best will bear with me, and will be willing to step right up and tell me to shut my bloomin' cake-hole whenever I cross the line.

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