Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Naked Time

Writing some stories or some parts of stories just cut so deeply near the heart. There comes this time when a writer asks herself what is necessary and can she attempt to brave it. Questions of Healing, escapism, Wish-fulfillment, Showing Things as they are, or allowing our neurosis to show.

My neuroses are in all my stories but I don't like sending out stories that show my neuroses in such a way that everyone knows I'm actually depicting my neuroses. You know how that goes. Or maybe you don't.

In Wind Follower, we have a dark-skinned main character who is loved by the handsomest guy in the world. It's necessary for my healing that this is the scenario. And because my neuroses (rejections for being too dark as a kid) is shared by many Black women, I can have such a scenario without feeling too weird or naked.

Same thing with Changeling, A Cry for Hire, Constant Tower. My neuroses are all in those stories. But My Life as an Onion, well, .... there is a story that needs a lot of elegantizing before it can go out to face the world and other people.

Which brings me to the problem. How much of a heroine, perfect, wonderful heroine do I want my stand-n to be? How much unbelievable happiness can I put into her life? I kinda got away with it in Wind Follower because I gave her a lot of crap. My main character in Onion has a lot of crap as well, but the crap is contemporary. So if I'm not careful, the contemporariness of he story can give me away. Folks will know it's me I'm talking about.

So I need skillz to get this story done. And I need courage as well. Aaargh! Courage to talk about faith, to talk about love, to indulge my yellow fever, ah me! But skillz and elegance above all else. I must talk about religion and spirits without being hokey, preachy and cheesy. I must talk about woundedness and eccentrics and people in emotional communities formed by pain...and yet not sound precious or off-the-wall or contrived. I must be utterly heartfelt and put my whole heart into the story without folks thinking that I'm whining or indulging or being escapist. I must heal myself and talk about love and sexuality without being unholy and pious on the one hand or a sexually deviant writer on the other. I must do all this in a story that should feel normal and dropped down purely from heaven without any human sweat on it. What to do?  WHAT. TO. DO?
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