Alex Cavanaugh. To find links to other IWSG contributors, click here. Thank you to co-hosts for the October’s IWSG: Jemima Pitt, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!
This month’s optional question: In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?
Sometimes, I imagine myself as a ninety-nine-year-old woman reading my writing of today. I suspect these earlier renditions of me may come across as simplistic, maybe even naïve. Perhaps I’ll chuckle at the dated nature of the content, but I know I won’t find anything controversial. For me, it’s easy to draw a line. Anything I write and publish today may last far beyond me and when I’m bearing down on 100, what will I have left if not a good reputation?
For the most part, I write what I like to read, which means no blood, gore or graphic sex. I can’t write horror because it scares me. Perhaps this inclination to keep things on the clean and neat side is because I read for pleasure, not angst, and wish to create that experience for others.
But maybe, it’s something more. My daughter rolls her eyes at how old fashioned I am, but I was a sensitive creature growing up and some lessons stuck. We were so drilled not to discuss those taboo topics of religion, money or politics in polite company, to the point that even at this late age I can’t find pleasure in writing about them. You can pretty much guarantee a happy ending in my fiction, or at least an ending in which happiness is imaginable. The suspense, or conflict comes from wondering how the characters will find their way around roadblocks to get there. As for non-fiction, well, what you see here is what you get. I pretty much write from the heart.
Of course, I’m nowhere near perfect. Words that would have had me locked in my room as a kid are sadly a part of my regular vocabulary. I can’t pretend not to have discussed (or railed about) politics lately, although only with people sympathetic to my way of thinking. But as much as I may slip in my personal life, you’re not going to find much evidence of it written down. With the exception of fiction where I have to create conflict, I have no interest in promoting anxiety, animosity, or discomfort. To my way of thinking, it’s a hard, and angry world out there. It’s no help to anyone if I contribute to it.