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On Writing Reality


I’ve been pacing back and forth in my small apartment, trying to figure out what to write about this week.

And it hit me, finally, as I was staring out the window that I would talk about reality, and how reality affects the reality of my own writing.

The most powerful novels, stories — anything, really — are, in my opinion, those that reflect the world as we know it. Those that challenge it, embrace it, turn it on its head, inside and out, and expose it for what it really is.

Why? Why in a world full of environmental, political, economic problems, do I appreciate even reading about reality? Don’t I want to read for the escape?

The answer isn’t a simple yes or no answer.

Perhaps there isn’t an answer at all.

However, I’m reminded about something I read recently about the power of language — the power behind language and the power within language.

Writers have the power to write about the world as it is, as it could be, as we hope it to be. We have the ability to show reality in a way that other people can relate to it, to write about reality in a way that inspires, enrages, encourages. Language is not a power to be taken lightly — to be thrown around or away, without thought or care.

The words we write are all based on our own realities: our experiences, our journeys, our questions about life as we know it. All of these things spin the tales, the legends, the songs, the poems. It makes sense, then, that the best writing — in whichever genre —  comes from the ability to face the everyday world as it is, the ability to face ourselves.

What is hope without the acknowledgement of a broken world? What is the power in love if it is simply acquired, simply kept? What is the beauty of the world if it is always beautiful?

The reality is that nothing is perfect.

I don’t live a perfect story; I don’t want to write a perfect story either. I want my characters to be broken as I have been broken. I want my characters to fight as I have had to fight. I want my world to rain with the fires of mistakes, the consequences of choices, and the tinge of loss. Because that is real.

But love gained and never lost is not real. Strength without struggle is not real. The light in happy heroes or heroines without a representation of the churning darkness lingering within each and every one of us is not real.

I get tired of reading the same stuff over and over — the same types of characters, the same types of situations. Why are some writers so afraid of reality? Why can they not see the power of pain? And how that pain makes happiness a gift. The power of anger, hatred, and how that anger and hatred in a person can make one’s hope and compassion all the more powerful? Why do writers fear the darkness of the human heart? The darkness in the world around us? Is that inherent darkness not the thing that makes the light worth fighting for?

Perhaps I am a cynic. Perhaps I am idealistic. Perhaps I merely believe that the beauty in the world — in reality, in my reality — is not that it is perfect, but that it lacks perfection.

Look out towards those far horizons. Towards the disjointedness of the past, the insecurities of the future. The knowledge that everything must end. See how it makes the struggles of humanity, our mistakes, all the more important to words and to storytelling?

The power behind language is a writer’s use of words — how they affect change, how they internalize the sensibilities and sensations of an external world. The power within language, however, is a reflection of the words themselves, as they dance within the chaos and transform it into something we can all understand.

Reality is a scary thing, a painful thing. But even in reality, the chaos can be beautiful too.

Embrace it and use it to your advantage.

Naturally not everyone will share my opinion. What do you think of reality and writing? Is there some importance to it? What is the power of words to you? Feel free to leave me a message. I’d love to hear your opinion!


One thought on “On Writing Reality

  1. Pingback: Saunsea | Finding the Path of God

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