Human beings fascinate me. Their thoughts and ideas. Their feelings. Why they act the way they do. What motivates, inspires, and challenges them. What makes them smile and laugh, sigh and reflect. I love observing them, studying their movements, their actions, and their speech. Every person I come across is complex and unique, and form the basis for most of my writing. My eyes are constantly moving, searching for the victim who will help spark my next idea.
I enjoy sitting alone at one of the many local Starbucks’, drinking coffee and people watching. I pretend to read – a novel, short story collection, or magazine – while paying attention to the nuances of body language, overhearing snippets of conversation and matching the gestures to the words. I look forward to discussions and arguments. Private phone conversations. Flirting. Even when I don’t understand the language being spoken, I almost always seem to understand what is being said; at least, what’s being said according to me.
Alfred Hitchcock once said, “Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.” This is true, from my perspective. The greatest inspiration for my writing is life itself, with all its glorious pain, heartache, eccentricities and drama. Yes, life is more interesting when it’s partly fiction, but all fiction has to come from somewhere. For me, writing comes from the heart. The old saying that goes, “write what you know,” is exactly what I do. My friends and family have been truly inspirational, not because of their encouragement (I don’t get much of that), but because they all lead semi-interesting lives and give me plenty of material.
I call my stories ‘semi-true fiction’ because they’re neither fiction or non-fiction. They fall somewhere in-between. I get incredibly inspired by the people I know, places I visit, or tragedies that occur in my life or in the lives of those around me. I find the greatest inspiration comes from life itself, with all its glorious pain and heartache. It’s that pain and emotion that I like to transfer to my writing. I listen to people talk, laugh, cry, and I transfer that to the page. Those emotions are all real, but because I don’t always speak the full truth, semi-fiction was born.
Throughout the years, writing has become my crack; addicting and strangely satisfying. If my stories are put together as one whole, they can serve as my autobiography in words: each story tells a part of me; my thoughts and feelings, my emotions, my heartbreaks and sorrows, what I feel at that particular moment, and perhaps, how I want to feel instead. I say through my characters what I don’t necessarily say out loud, but have often wanted to. I make my characters do things I often dream about, but haven’t done. Sometimes, I don’t change a thing and the characters are purely me, a side of myself I only reveal to close friends and in my writing. A big part of myself exists in all my characters: my insecurities, my fears, my passions. That’s what writing means to me; an ability to escape the world and put memories into words. Writing makes life so much simpler.
If anything connects my stories, it’s the semi-truth. Some stories might ring truer than others, but they have all been inspired, in one way or another, by my life and the people around me. By the lies I’ve been told. By the lies I tell. Writing is my way of revealing the truth. The truth as I see it.
May it set me free.
ASSIGNMENT: I strongly urge my readers to go out and write a semi-true story. Interview a friend or stranger, listen in on a conversation, observe your loved ones, and craft a story around what’s happening and what you see. You’ll be surprised at the results.
Until next time, write on!
The Accidental Blogger