Or in my case, art saved my life.
Like I said in my previous post, I used poetry to purge a lot of the dark feelings that I had when I was a pre-teen/teenager. Writing was a way of venting my frustrations, hurts and secrets without talking to a real person. That may seem kind of sad, but it was useful, and I don’t want to think what could have become of me if I hadn’t written so much during those times.
I still use writing to purge feelings, but I mostly use it to explore the human condition and range of emotions. I guess that gets back to my interest in sociology and how groups manage in an ever-changing world. Many of the scenes in my upcoming novel The Source explores various situations and how a person might act/react in that environment. For me, writing a novel is a many-months process of thinking about “you can’t know what you would do unless you were in my shoes.” In many ways, the writing helps me to develop as a person as it forces me to look at things from different perspectives – but only because I choose to write in that style. There are many writers who write content that is only for mindless entertainment for the reader, and that’s completely valid. If there wasn’t a need for that type of escapism, then there wouldn’t be such a large market for trashy romance novels. Not everyone gets lost in Shakespeare.
And not that I’m comparing myself to Shakespeare. Far from it. With Shakespeare, the reader is taken on a journey of humanity. In my writing, it’s me who is on the journey and everyone else is along for the ride. Who knows whether anyone will ever get anything “deep” from my novels. I sure hope so. But even if it allows readers to relax for a few minutes a day, then I will feel successful. That would actually be beyond success. For me, the writing is success in itself if I am lucky enough to better understand people and be more compassionate because of it. For anyone to enjoy it? Well, that’s just extra gravy goodness.