Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is there something wrong with me?

So, I have a colleague who also teaches Creative Writing, and he told me of a very interesting questions one of his students asked him the other day. The kid, according to him, seems like a very passive, mild, sweet student, but she writes really dark, violent fiction.

My kind of girl, y'know?

And yet, she says people are telling her she belongs in a mental hospital because there's something wrong with her to come up with this stuff. Some of the ones telling her this are related to her.


Now, I haven't read any of her work, but my friend has read mine and says the kid's work is no darker, just a little more gore in some places. So who the fuck is telling this kid something's wrong with her?

Does that mean there's something wrong with me? I've got four very different stories out there, and each of them has something dark in it. Does that mean I'm crazy too? (Okay, ignore that one, I am)

Look, I'm all for a sense of propriety here. There are some truly sick people out there, and I condemn them for their acts. But that's just it...they are ACTS. Hell, Eminem says some pretty offensive shit in his music, but until he actually BECOMES a rapist in a Jason mask, I'm not going to sit here and tell you he's certifiable. And I damn sure wouldn't if I was RELATED to him. (He might come after me, if nothing else).

But hey, I'm very biased, so let's hear it from you guys. Are the "violent crime" writers among us truly sick in the head, or do some folks just need to remove the holier-than-thou stick before they sit down next time?


Elijah M said...

Not to invade without warning, but I felt the need to post a comment on this. I don't think this person is certifiable. (I don't think you are, either.) This is like saying the Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto Addict is certifiable. Video Games, Writing, Art, Poetry, it's all an escape, to let off steam. Writing about dark, violent, disturbing things can be a release of tension and of inner rage, and can, I believe, actually prevent such acts in the person. Hitler only started doing those bad things after he was told he would never make it as an artist (or so I've heard). Maybe if he had stuck to painting, the Holocaust wouldn't have happened.

xshadowitamix said...

No, there isn't anything wrong with you or that student, because the entire world is crazy. The people who admit to it are the sanest, and the rest of the people...well they just pick at other people because they can't face their own issues. Dark writers tend to be the most honest people because they are able to face the reality of how messed up humanity really is. The rest of the world is just lying to themselves.

jnantz said...

Elijah, xshadow - I agree completely. It really bothers me that this kid's parents would say stuff like that. I mean, how over-protective (and naive) can parents today really be? This child obviously has found a great outlet for the thoughts, issues, or emotions we all have at times, and I say bravo. Glad to know you're both on board!

elfarmy17 said...

Of course there's nothing (well, not nothing) wrong with them/you. I especially agree with Elijah. It bothers me when people (parents in particular) have difficulties distinguishing the writer and the writing. I think this is more of a problem with dark/depressing poetry than prose, in my experience, anyway, but it still applies. The poem might speak of serious emotional pain...but that doesn't necessarily mean the writer is in need of serious help. It means him/her has empathy and understanding, or is trying to increase such for those sorts of characters and/or situations.

jnantz said...

elfarmy - I agree. I also think it means this is a writer who will be very good at getting inside the head of the antagonist and turning the story based on what he/she/it would do, instead of always thinking like a hero.

But what the hell do I know, I'm not the parent...right?

DaViD W said...

Time for a belated comment...

I personally have a huge problem with this scenario. This also happened to someone whom I am very close to. I think it is just, well... obtuse (for lack of a better word) to judge someones mentality by their writing. If the person was ranting about how they were going to kill people and go suicidal, or if she were abusing herself in some way, that would be one thing. But I really disagree with her parents/friends/all the other douche bags that have anything aggressive and invasive to say about her writing. writing is just a communicable imaginary thing. It has no validity to who a person is or what they do.

jnantz said...

Trust me David, you are preaching to the choir here. So preach on!