Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Expressing yourself?

You know, I'm sick and tired of people saying "all writer's have the need to express themselves". Or that "writing is the means to discover who you are".

Hog wash!

I don't write to "discover who I am" or to "express myself". I write to discover the story bumbling around in my head. It has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that I'm the only one who can get this particular story out. My ego is not involved in my writing at all. And for these "people" it seems that's all there is to writing.

If I write a story about death and angels (which I am currently working on) that must mean I'm thinking about my mortality and what awaits me beyond the grave. Like I said: Hog wash! I'm writing this story because of the snow. Yep snow. It's a challenge up on WordTrip where you're asked to describe snow. I should know. I posted the challenge. As I thought about how I wanted to describe the snow, the story started to take shape but only because I needed some context for my description. I wasn't thinking about dying or angels or Little House on the Prairie style living. This is just the story that came out when I started to think about snow. And for me the snow is still the main focus of the story despite what those people might think.

For those "people" who think writing is done solely to express yourself or discover who you are, they are no different than elitists. They're like painters who think that anything they splash onto the canvas is art because they say it is and who are you to argue with them. They're writer's who think that only "literary fiction" is where the good writing is happening and that "genre fiction" is full of hacks and people who sold their souls to the devil. It doesn't matter what spices a chef puts on filet mignon or how they cook it . . . it's still going to be filet mignon. It doesn't matter where it's cook or buy whom. It's about how it tastes in the end. And it's ALL a matter of taste.

I'm not autobiographical in my writing and I have difficulty with anyone who is. Even Stephen King when he wrote himself into his Dark Tower series. When I sit down to write I leave my ego at the door. When I write it's for the story, whatever that may be, and just getting that out onto paper. Is my writing filet mignon caliber? Absolutely not! (See I can leave my ego out of that too.) Right now I hope I'm working with ground beef. Do I want to get up to filet mignon? Absolutely yes! But until then I'm happy cooking with what I've got.

And now if you'll excuse me, all this talk of food has made me hungry.

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