You have a strange relationship with calamity when you're a writer: you write about it; as an artist, you objectify and fetishize it. You render life into material, and that's a creepy thing to do.
I'm a weirdo. There, I said it. I've always been fascinated with all things dark and creepy. If it's mysterious and strange, then I'm drawn to it. So no wonder the voices inside my head are a bit demented. They don't have much of a choice.
The funny thing: I'm also a big wuss. It's a nice balance, really. Because I'm pretty much afraid of the unknown, I'm not likely to do anything TOO crazy--like walk down deserted alley ways in the middle of the night or be seen messing around with a Ouija board.
So, how can I be attracted to the darkside, but still be a wimpy wimp? Beats me, but I like it. I can enjoy creepy stuff, but also be safe while doing it. A win-win situation :)
But why do I like creepy things? Why is that when I'm on a trip to Paris, I find myself longing to visit Les Catacombes or the above ground graveyards more so than visiting the museums? Maybe, it has to do with the mystery and the forbidden aspect of creepy things that is the real attraction for me.
Now, I'm no Stephen King--far from it (I don't even write horror) but there are story ideas floating around inside my head that would make some look at me and think, "But she looks so normal."
I get some of that now, especially with my Zombie West Series. I'm a 40+ year old Mormon mother of three who writes about the undead--that can't be right. But it is. And I do. I think I write some pretty gross scenes, and in my latest work in progress (DEAD PLAINS) I sent a chapter off to my beta reader and she came back with the following comment: "Absolutely disgusting. Gag. Gag. Gag.gag.gag. gag. This is worse than any zombie eating in all three books. I seriously have bile rising in my throat. You are disgusting and need help. Hahaha. But I love you."
The scene in question had been bouncing around inside my head, and I kept debating whether to write it or not. So of course, I chose to write it. Not only do I write about gross things, but I also like to delve into the darkside of human nature and write those stories too.
For my culture, and in living where I do, maybe I shouldn't be writing any of this stuff at all. Maybe I should be writing about picnics in the park and walking dogs while holding hands with a doe-eyed boy. Now that makes ME gag. I can't. I won't. Since I was a young teen, the stories I wrote always had some kind of dark, forbidden, element to them. I can't imagine stopping now.
It's actually taken me until recently to accept and embrace this fact about myself. I write somewhat weird and taboo stuff... but I think I do it rather tastefully :) The voices in my head are creepy and otherwise dark and I don't see that changing any time soon. I write what I write and that's that. Some will approve and others will not, and I'm okay with those judgments. I have to be.
So, when you see me around, cheering my kid at his baseball game or standing up in front of the school as PTA President (Yes, yes I am), I may appear pretty normal-looking on the outside, but boy should you see what my brain is cooking up.
How do you balance the things you write against your life standards? What do people think about you after they've read your work? Do you even care?