Making Friends with the Voices in my Head
OK. I can live with not being funny (see last blog post). But this. This is a revelation too far.
And yet I know it to be true. The evidence is overwhelming: I have gone over to the dark side.
Regardless of subject, the source of my inspiration, or the age group I write for, I find myself taking a path that I didn’t intend to follow. A dark path: more sinister than the road I consciously chose to travel.
I recently watched my husband riding the dodgems with our son. His face was pure joy: full of love and light. I was inspired. I wanted to capture this moment. Eternalise his glee in order that others might share it.
So, I took that moment and I began to write.
A few hours later, I had the outline of a story about a bitter borderline alcoholic, with a dark secret. Somehow, I had taken that beautiful moment and dragged it downwards into the abyss. It emerged totally unrecognisable. My protagonist, no longer a joyful father, but instead the kind of weirdo you’d be scared to sit next to on the bus.
This dark side has taken me by surprise. When I started my writing journey, I set out to write funny books. Books that brought laughter and light into the lives of children. Somehow, I turned into Darth Vader: the dark side of the force is strong with me.
I am no pioneer. Writers have explored the darker side of childhood for many generations. Yet somehow, I never realised that this darkness is what I am drawn to.
And I am drawn. Completely. I have no choice but to let the darkness envelop me. I used to be slightly in awe of those writers who spoke of stories that had their own momentum; of characters who sprung to life, demanding to be heard; voices in their head that wouldn’t be silenced. Now I understand exactly what they meant.
I also understand that these writers, whilst talented and committed, have no special powers. No supernatural abilities. They are simply gifted listeners. They accept that their characters have something very specific to say, and rather than fight them, they embrace their inner voices.
And so, I make no apologies for stating, that from this day forward, I am going to make friends with the voices in my head. Fine tune my listening skills. Accept the dark side and let it take me where it will.