Write What I Fear? Yeah, but . . .

Another one of those quotes rolled by in my feed–something about writing what you fear, and I think this time it was from Nadine Gordimer. I have always ignored that advice. I’m adventurous, but I write escapist fiction on purpose, and if I write something that goes beyond the visceral or seems original and deep, that’s an accident. My experimentalism is about pretty phrasing, too–I’m a confectional writer–rarely driven by meaning. If it comes to meaning or creates a unique effect, that’s swell.

Except. Here I am about to move into the final acts of a manuscript draft that turns out to be about a subject I have feared and avoided all my life. That subject is mental illness, and my goal of addressing it with meaning in within the context of a murder mystery may not be met, but at the end of the first draft process I will have “gone there”–I will have written about what I fear.

But here’s the twist–the only reason I have been able to do this with any confidence/relative comfort is because I have a safety net that’s never been there before–a publisher who is committed to me and invested in my work. That’s no guarantee that this book will see the light of your e-reader, but it’s just enough support for me.

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