Saturday, July 29, 2006
see my pretty picture -- psycho 101
Are writers broken?
This is a question I've asked myself many times over the years. I grew up in an abusive home under the care of someone who shouldn't have had children, much less have been left in charge of them. The physical abuse didn't start until I was a teenager, but the mental abuse was constant. Many writers seem to have come from similar backgrounds. I'd love to know the percentage, but I suspect a lot of people don't talk about it, maybe because there's still a deep sense of shame that goes along with that kind of upbringing. Not to mention all those overdone, melodramatic plots. I hate when people whine around about this stuff, and i'm only mentioning it because i wonder if it's at the unconscious heart of many of our books.
While growing up my entire focus was on pleasing my caretaker, to do whatever I could to make her happy and do whatever I could to avoid making her mad. Unfortunately I think that codependent way of coping has followed me into adult life and working relationships. For the most part I'm somebody who now refuses to take crap from anybody, but in a working relationship I tend to revert back to those old ways of coping. I find myself weighted down by a strong desire to please until I'm pushed too far and everything blows up.
I also think many writers become addicted to book releases, not because it's pretty damn wonderful to see your book on the shelf, but because they crave the mass approval a well-written book brings.
See my pretty picture.
Writing is definitely therapy, and I think my teenage characters are probably the most like me as I continuously revisit and deal with the past. I don't know if it helps. Probably not, but it's nice to hit back.