I have been on the writing rollercoaster for quite some time now, enjoying the ride when I can get it, thinking about it when I can’t. It feels good to admit that I have focus, a purpose, and a plan (at least this week).
Before I settled on my current plan, I entertained another idea. A book, a novel, that would have taken a lot of research and smart thought and emotes in worlds I don’t often delve into.
I was going to write a book about dementia from the patient/subject point of view.
Being a mixed genre writer, I was going to throw in some faerie stuff in the prologue, and have that be in the patient’s thoughts throughout the book. The ending I was going to leave up to the readers. It wasn’t going to be campy; it was going to be merely a different take on the situation.
It’s a great idea. A great story. But then I started to think. I don’t know anyone with dementia. I don’t have it (yet), don’t have family with it, or friends, or acquaintances. The thought itself terrifies me, so that would have been my point of view.
After a lot of thinking and rearranging and NOT being able to rearrange my life, I decided to go in a different direction, working with something that I’m already familiar with, something I think will be a hit.
But one of my fears was that those who did have loved ones going through this tragedy would be offended that I “took it too lightly.” I mean, mixing faeries and memory loss and loss of bodily functions — what was I thinking?
So what I wanted to know was, have you ever written/painted/created something out of your comfort zone? Did you finish it? Did you do anything with it? Did you get any reaction because of it?
Maybe you’re pretty clean-cut but wanted to write a sex or demon novel. Maybe you wanted to paint a nude of someone. Or sculpt a piece that, in one way or another, was offensive. Did you do it?
Society is strapped with bungee cords that hold us back from doing anything too off-kilter. I admit I often am a victim of it myself. I often wondered if I took a Stephen King turn at a short story if my family would think I’m psycho. Or if I wrote 600 Shades of Grey if my grandson would coil back in horror.
There is a little of us in everything we create. Even when we step out of our comfort zone there is still a thread that holds us to our sanity. To our safety. I know there have been plenty of artists who have pushed the boundaries of sanity, decorum, and sacred truths to make their art known.
I admit I’m not that adamant about testing the waters of propriety. I know there are plenty of sexy novels out there written by 60 year old little ladies, sculptures of nudes by conservative bankers, and all that. Somehow they either create a persona — a pen name/life — that takes the brunt of the criticism, or are so confident in who they are that they really don’t care.
I haven’t totally trashed the dementia idea, but because of the structure of my life at the moment I can’t give it the time, research, angst, and especially the respect, it deserves.
I’d really like to hear if you were tempted by another “you” — and if you ever followed that Muse.
And don’t worry — I won’t give away your secret —
— you will.