I have had people express condemnation and condescension and consternation at the dark themes of my writings about damaged people, myself included. And how I, and my characters, do not respond in ways in which those who look down from ivory towers deem appropriate.
Painting pictures with written words is my form of creative, artistic expression. It is how I reflect the world as I see it, at this moment. I pour my heart and soul into my stories, no matter the length. In the expression of my art — Should I write of a rose-colored world I do not see?
I am angered by such dismissive and derisive comments, but when delivered by other artists, I am saddened. How would another artist feel if I found fault in their art solely because their artistic expression did not reflect MY world view? I have written that sensitivity is the curse of creativity. I am often stunned at the lack of sensitivity in some creative people.
When painters cover canvas in dark expressions of pain, anger and sorrow — they are hailed for their depth.
When a photographer captures the horrors of war, homelessness and suffering — they are praised for their courage.
But, when a writer breathes life into stories dealing with suicide, despair, promiscuity, murder, bullying, sorrow, sadness, hopelessness, and loss — they are labeled as suffering from depression. They are mollified with pleasant platitudes to alleviate their perceived overly sensitive souls. Or worse, callous vulgarities are shouted, trying to intimidate and halt the writing of such deep, thoughtful content.
We are condemned, admonished and told:
•To not express the art which burns deep down within our very being. •To toughen up, as if sharing depth of emotion is not an expression of toughness. •To stop feeling, as if we should disconnect from that which inspires us to create.
It amazes me how little people see the writer, author or storyteller as an artist.
Ernest Hemingway didn’t simply write of war and adventure. He often made scathing social commentary, and almost always, at the heart of his stories, he emoted passion, love and loss.
Stephen King didn’t simply write macabre tales of the supernatural. King’s early works told tales of disaffected, bullied, ostracized outsiders — actually so do his current works.
Instead of scanning a story to get to the end, READ the words.
Most of us are beaten down hard by the world. Many of us are damaged by those beatings. Not all of us are impacted the same way. Not all of us respond the same way.