Friday, May 14, 2010

Art Reflecting Life or Life As We Wish It Could Be?

During the past, I have read posts from writers about how anger they thought they'd dealt with, had buried, or had forgotten surfaces surprisingly in their work. Their comments made me think about our subconscious and the fodder for our stories.JoAnn Ross recently wrote an article about her early loss and trail to finding her half-sister. Her search and happy reunion forced her to realize that all of her stories deal with family unity in one way or another. Whatever the cause, her books are always wonderful.

I believe my historicals came about from stories my father (in his fifties when I was born) and my maternal grandmother (in her sixties when I was born) told about their childhoods and family history. I hadn't considered that characters might sometimes grow out of frustrations with family members. Sure, I knew writers killed off in print the people they hated--one of the cathartic joys of writing! I hadn't thought of other characters as manifestations or desires. One writer mentioned a sociopath mother who had humiliated and tormented her childhood. Not until she was editing a work did she realize the heroine's mom was based on her own, right down to an event she'd included. What a shock!

Another friend whose book was edgier than any of her other books admitted it was because of all she went through when her mother was ill and dying while my friend was writing the book. As writers and as humans, we are the sum of our experiences, both good and bad.

This reminds me of a quote about television in the 1940's and 1950's. Nick Clooney, brother of singer Rosemary Clooney and related to George Clooney, said, "People wanted to see life, not as it was, but as they wished it could be." I suppose the same is true for readers of popular fiction. It certainly is for me as a reader and as a writer.

We write not so much as life is, but as we wish it could be fore everyone. For every heartache, a healing. For every good person, victory. For every bad person, redemption or swift and painful retribution. Our lives, and our dreams, are reflected in our Art.

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