Friday, September 12, 2014
In My Experience...
This is not to say that one's personal experiences and history are not of interest. They might even perhaps be of consequence when it comes to fictional content. Although that's unlikely if the writer has done her research and has sufficient imagination. Or has her own personal experience to draw upon. The ending of my first marriage was probably unlike yours. My college experience was probably not yours. My bouts with various illnesses may not resemble yours. My writing career is probably quite different from yours.
We all want to believe that our human experience is the definitive one, but...not so much.
So even when it comes to content in fiction, the reader who objects to something based on their own personal experience is generally skating on thin ice.
And when they try to apply their personal experience to matters of craft they are, quite simply, talking through their hat.
It might be a top hat or a beret or a cloche knitted by their granny. The point is their hat is not my hat. Their bag is not my bag.
I am so weary, weary unto flipping DEATH of our increasing narcissism as a society and an industry. I don't want to get specific here because I am always bumping into the difficulty of What Would Diana Do. I'm quite serious. Running several different writer personas has resulted in my only being myself in one corner of my writing universe (and it's the corner where most of my mainstream friends are astonished, even appalled to find me leaning on a lamppost, cigarette hanging from my lips as I coolly appraise all passersby).
Anyway. The result of this decades long balancing act has been...well, difficult. And I think I've reached the breaking point. I can't be everywhere at once, and that has resulted in my giving up half my writing career. And I have come to resent that. Also, I grew weary of subtle attempts at blackmail and coercion (oh, I kid you not!) and simply the fear that others might not understand. I guess I no longer care if others understand or not. And maybe that comes from having managed to achieve a ridiculous amount of success by being myself -- even when that "self" is unrecognizable to a lot of the people who believe they know me best.
It could all go away when the truth comes out. Although I know many, many people already know the truth and are simply, courteously and kindly waiting for me to choose my moment.
And now I really do sound like my bout of mental illness is not YOUR bout of mental illness. :-)
This has all come to a head with my decision to return to mainstream -- and the lesser decision to attend Bouchercon. It is the freakiest thing in the world to try and attend a conference like Bouchercon and somehow conceal what I've been doing for the past how many years? To conceal my experience and success...heck, just my output (60+ bestselling books in how many years?!)
And so I am thinking a great deal about how to handle this. I dread the idea of hurting people. And there will
And it's not like I'm ever going to discuss my whys or wherefores. There isn't going to be some dramatic announcement in that sector of the universe. I'm never going to delve into my personal experience as far as sexuality or gender or any of that. The very idea makes me feel faint. It's no one's business. I am appalled to find myself living in an age where so many people believe these things ARE other people's business.
I expect the re-release of Murder in Pastel will take care of much of it. I'm doing it quite consciously and deliberately, but there will still be those who think they've stumbled onto some inadvertent revelation. And I'll just have to politely put up with it.
Anyway. That was quite a digression! More later.
Posted by Diana Killian at 10:16 AM