Some days ago a dear relative of mine came across my novella published on Amazon and was shocked to read the content of the sample.
Admittedly, it’s not a novella with the most subtle of beginnings. Almost immediately you know what you’re getting yourself into.
That relative was in no way prepared for what the content of Despair & Decision was and immediately turned to my mother with assumptions of my sexual orientation.
Frankly I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to laugh or cry to that. The ignorance of some people is really quite astounding, not particularly of this relative though. I constantly would love to be blind to ignorance but since this has happened more than once in my life, and caused plenty of trouble for me both times, I thought that maybe I couldn’t be blind to the stupidity of assumptions anymore.
So I’m here to clear things up. Writing about a lesbian romance doesn’t mean that I myself am a lesbian. I’ve written about rape but that doesn’t mean I, personally, was raped. I’ve written about abuse and that does not necessarily mean that I have been abused. I’ve written about angels but I surely don’t believe I am one. I’ve written about 19th Century London and the future and, let’s be honest, as fun as it may be it surely doesn’t mean I’ve gone for a trip in the Tardis with The Doctor. Other such reasoning can be applied to numerous other topics and themes I’ve written about.
I think there is more than just that to clear up though.
Being a writer doesn’t mean simply writing about oneself all the time. If that were the case, wouldn’t it be easier to say ‘dear diary,’ and go on with that instead of this? If I wrote about topics only true to myself then wouldn’t life be rather boring? Where is the fun? Where is the exploration? If I wrote characters always like myself how would that be any fun for myself or for my readers? My goodness, if every experience my characters have had were actually my own I’d have lived at least a million years by now.
There is more than one truth in this world and that is the truth that we see with our own two eyes. What I feel, what happens to me, that isn’t always important. Sometimes it is what I see other people go through, it is the feelings I see others struggle with, the experiences I see them deal with. Those are the things for me to write about because those are sometimes things that I cannot come to terms with and that some people are also blind to. In writing things in ways that people can understand one is able to shine light on some subjects that need recognition.
It’s not wrong to say that the things an author writes about are things that are dear to them. It’s wrong that, because you don’t know everything about the author, you can fill in all the gaps with all the fairy stories you like by trying to relate them to the things they write. It’s not to say that there is no truth in any of it but taking things with a grain of salt makes sense too, doesn’t it?