I came to writing as a necessity. It was something I did, and still do, to keep track of myself. I have kept journals from a young age, and the times in which I was not writing are the only times I have felt truly lost. I never wrote for an audience until these last four years and writing as a craft is still a fairly new concept to me. What I have discovered is that mostly, craft is in the awareness of it. Becoming more aware of the ways in which I express myself through writing and the ways in which I bring my stories into light has begun to give me a sense of my voice, and the ways in which I might develop my craft of writing to best fit that voice that is uniquely mine.
I like to write about things that can be interpreted in several ways. I don’t like to give away answers because I think that the purpose of art is to make people think, not to teach them a specific lesson. People can debate the meanings behind specific works of literature forever, and they do and will, but they aren’t usually debating what the author wanted it to mean. I think that good writing is usually writing that makes you question something fundamental and that leaves you confused in a way that makes you want to figure out an answer for yourself. Of course, I always know what my writing means to me, and I attempt to relay it to potential readers, but I think with all language and all art there will inevitably be differences in interpretation from person to person. The challenge, I think, is in making those moments that are open for broader interpretation the exciting and valuable moments and not just a frustration to the reader.
I like to use the fantastic or the surreal to express certain moments of emotion in my fantastic fiction writing as well as in my realistic fiction and my nonfiction writing. I think that writing which has a fantastic feel to it can often make a moment feel more real in writing. This is because people don’t always experience things the way that they are in objective reality. Emotions heighten or dull our senses, they can shrink a room, or turn a crack in the sidewalk into a dead person’s face. Expressing a character’s warped sense of what is going on as if it were reality gives the reader an intimate look into their mind and their emotions and thoughts. This is something I really enjoy both in my reading and in my own writing.
I don’t really believe in “fiction” in my writing. Everything I write is based on something very personal and real. My fiction stories are based on the same fears, curiosities, and passions that I write about in my non-fiction works and in my personal journals. My characters also, tend to be based on people I have encountered in real life, or expansions of a certain aspect of my own personality. This is something I often don’t realize before I write the character, or even as I am doing it, but something I come to realize after I look back on my writing and remember that a real person quite like that existed at one point in my real life, or that it has really been an exploration into one part of myself which I had written about in my journals in the past.
I have a hard time writing mothers for my characters, and as a result I have avoided it. The only mothers in my fiction stories are either physically or mentally abusive to their children. This is likely because of my own troubled relationship with my mother. Fathers are also difficult to write for me, and so parents in general are either absent from my writing or take a back seat to the main characters. I tend to write about children or young adults because those are perspectives I can understand. In contrast to my hesitation towards writing parents, almost all of my stories involve sisters. The word and the idea, “sister” represented the most important relationships in my life for a huge portion of it. My sisters have taken on what you would think of as the emotional roles of a father, a mother, a significant other, an emotional support animal, and everything in between at different chapters in my life. Because of this, the sister relationship in my stories is often very intense, sometimes involving a type of twinning.
In a few of my stories there is the theme of a duplicated self. I have always been fascinated with the multiplicity of my own consciousness and that of others. The person we are versus the person we want to be, the person others want us to be versus the person we feel we are, the person we are versus the person we think we are, the forgiving self versus the hateful self, these are all dichotomies I have tried to capture in one story or another, and real aspects of myself I have attempted to shed light on in my non-fiction works also.