Somehow I’ve managed to be surrounded by people who write. I’d like to trace some thoughtful evolution or attribute my position to some fluke of random chance. Rather, I lean towards Chaos Theory, that butterfly flying in China that I’ve mentioned in a previous post. When I withdrew one of my sons from school to be taught at home, this action created connections with other homeschoolers, followed by shared needs and experiences, and, finally, to the declaration, “You should put that in your novel!” Life decisions for the well-being of my son have brought me to my keyboard.
The process of creating fiction is, on the whole, foreign to me. I’ve published my statistical analyses of health data and explained variance and significance of findings. My work has been in the concrete, the measurable, the truth. Even reviewing others’ writing is grounded in reality: this is how it made me feel, what I connected to it, what confused me.
Throughout this process – I’m approaching my second submission to a writing group – it has become clear that it is impossible to untangle my personal experiences with my writing. With particular emphasis on the lows, the path that is my life has seeped into my characters and their story lines even as I attempted to conjure words that were completely new.
With certainty, I have developed a curiosity on the genesis of others’ writing. While some clearly draw from the gestalt of their hometown or their family’s history, others could be repackaging some dark, personal truths. I look at one of my favorite authors, Chuck Palahniuk, with suspicion. Perhaps I don’t want to meet him now? I wonder, after reading my novel, would my reader want to meet me?