Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Elegant neurosis

Balance, balance, balance!

Well, i'm only about 120 pages into Inheritance, The Claimed, or whatever it's going to be called. There I am writing along and sending sex scenes to Sylvia Kelso, the author of Amberlight and to Robert Fleming, the author of Fever in the Blood.

Both of them think the sex scene is cold. Well, ...uh...yeah. I tend to write third person novels very coldly. But also, I write sex scenes very coldly and distantly. Maybe it's cause I'm a little sexually cold myself. (Am just putting that out there but I don't think I am. At least I hope I'm not.) But the other problem, that Rob pointed out, was that I am putting too much of myself into the book.

Now, that is one of my major issues as a writer. I tend to put all my soul and self into a novel. That is the blessing and the curse of my writing. An elementary teacher of mine, my french teacher, Mrs Meyerowitz, used to say that the blessing was the curse. So my blessing, and the beauty of my stories is that I put all my joy, pain, and idiosyncracies into my stories.

For instance: ever since my East-Indian half-sister told me my father liked her better because she was light-skinned, I have never been able to look into a mirror. (Trust me, you would not want to see what I look like now.) I gave this trait to Satha, my main female character in Wind Follower.

Another example: My father cheated on my mother relentlessly. Mercifully, she divorced him. I have such an issue with adultery it isn't sane. So what do i do with it? I give it to Loic, my main male character in Wind Follower. The kid hates his adulterous step-mother even more than his father does...and even his father calls him on it: "You carry my offense as if it were your own." (Something like that. I don't have the book with me.)

My issues about the death of my mother and my existential despair over my own health of course pops into the book in a couple of Satha's soliloquies...even her fear that the Creator or her husband would not abandon her.

So yeah....everything...and I mean EVERYTHING....that goes on in my spiritual, physical, familial, and psychological life ends up in my stories. That's what makes my stories beautiful, i think. Not the beauty of the words, but the honesty and the self-revealing of my soul.

But dang! When I'm writing these things, I have to be very careful. At a storytelling conference, I once heard a storyteller say, "Storytelling is my most elegant use of my neurosis." That's what I aim for....elegance. Yeah, I want my neurosis out there in the book. But I want them to be so wonderfully rendered (nice word that, like clarified oil out of gross fat) that only the purity of soul and the soul's need for God and clarity can shine forth.

So back to this sex scene and to inheritance/the claimed/whatever. I am writing a love story between a kid 27 year old bi-racial Chinese-Native American guy and a Jamaican-American dark-skinned woman who is 48. And I have to see if I a dark-skinned black woman can actually believe that this could happen. (Sure it has happened in real life...and I think it's kinda cute when some cute young thing develops a crush on me. But I never take it seriously...no matter how much the kid takes it seriously.) And that's the problem now. My female character has to take it seriously. She HAS to. She has to get rid of the familial and societal brainwashing and believe she can be loved.

And I have to believe it to. Or else the thing just won't work. The Bible says a true witness delivers souls. So as a Christian writer, I believe I am called to be a witness of what is true about the power of love, spiritual beauty and change. So, I have to make her journey neurotic and true....but also elegant.
Post a Comment

Blog Archive

Popular Posts