This weeks blog has presented a bit of a moral dilemma. What I really wanted to do was tell you a few lovely anecdotes about my son’s recent romantic endeavours. These anecdotes were diamond, not just because they were hilarious but because they would have allowed me to open up a discussion on the complex emotions felt by young children. Emotions that should therefore be depicted more strongly in the fictional characters we create to entertain them.
Yes it would have been a great discussion but it would also have been totally wrong. I know I often blog about my family but this is different. I’d have been letting you into his thoughts and feelings and I have no right to do that. His trust is too important to me; there is a line and I won’t cross it.
This line however is not always so clear. Everything I write, fiction or otherwise, is somehow rooted in my experience. My relationships, education, social status: they all influence who I am. The life I have lived resplendent in my characters, this is what makes my writing real.
I ended my last blog discussing the risks I take as a writer in terms of exposing my own emotions and vulnerabilities. Things are likely to get even more treacherous if I fail to recognise the possibility I might also expose those around me. The characters I write may be fictional but their traits and behaviours are very real, basing them in reality is a way of giving them substance. Yet it is also a way to lose friends very quickly if the characterisation is based too readily on any one individual.
I recently had the pleasure of hearing Scottish author A.L. Kennedy talk about her writing career. For Kennedy the danger does not end with those closest to us and she warned her largely novice audience against using their everyday encounters as a source of material. When you are a writer it seems people want to tell you things, to please you. What sort of person would use this desire in order to further their own writing? What have you become if social interactions are simply about the dig for new material?
Kennedy is right of course, well to an extent anyway. I don’t want my friends to stop telling me things because they are worried I am putting muse before mate. But if I can’t draw inspiration from the world that is constantly unfolding around me, where can I draw inspiration from?
It’s a tricky business this writing malarky.