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The Stories We Choose

Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Nov. 10, 2018

The other day, my mother told me “you are still angry, which is why your story is also full of intense and violent emotion,” referring to the very grim, heavy tone and mood in Without Moonlight. It impressed me really because it rang true. My heart is still very heavy wih anger, even rage, at the things happening not only in my country but also generally in the world. I won't go into those, because this is not the point of this article. Suffice to say that if I scratch the surface of my feelings, I do find all my ache at the injustice, human pain and institutionalized sadism in administrations very acute. And it seeps into my story, which I picked to tell because it was the ONLY story I could tell at the time I started it, back in 2010, and it remains one of the main stories I need to tell.

I think in a lot of ways no creator can truly avoid that- no matter what the genre of the story. We write not only what we know (one way or the other) but also what we feel, or what we dream, or wish for or desire. Stories offer us innumerable opportunities as well as a safety we don't necessarily feel in real life. Even if we're telling the grimmest tale, in which nobody survives unscathed or even survives at all, there is the safety of control, because it's our story and as it plays out we get a sort of catharsis by allowing the things in our mind and our heart manifest.

And it doesn't have to be deep or existential- in the flimsiest fanfiction where your self insert causes the main character to be smitten while he/she saves the day rather than the other way round, it still is a story that allows us to explore (and indulge) in the things we want and need at the time we're telling the story.

It's for that reason that if one is aware of an author's life, the books he/she has written take on more nuance, letting us see into that author's own heart and mind just as much as we've given him/her access to ours.

I am sure that if my anger is soothed, the story I will tell will be different in tone, even if it's about the same things or issues. I probably will choose a different story to tell altogether.

What about you? What stories do you choose to tell?

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PaulEberhardt at 3:49AM, Nov. 11, 2018

@ozoneocean: Thanks! :)

Ozoneocean at 12:43AM, Nov. 11, 2018

Big apologies for not including you in the links there Paul! I've fixed that now.

PaulEberhardt at 7:43PM, Nov. 10, 2018

True! No matter how good at acting we may be (writing dialogue for stories is just a kind of acting, if you think of it), we can't get our of our skulls... The other day I heard about a study on the radio which said that grumpy, cynical, pessimistic people actually tend to have a higher life expectancy. The researchers explained that by immediately dumping all kind of emotional rubbish on their surroundings, they don't give it half as much of a chance of making them ill, as it does with all these so-called "pleasant-natured" people who just bottle it up. // I guess it must have taught them a lesson in mental health - not that I'd actually know, but whenever I cite it to them in response to their complaining about my bad moods, it's a true pleasure to watch them really getting into the proper spirit. ;)

JustNoPoint at 6:58PM, Nov. 10, 2018

Most of my stories stay the same for years. At least the big moments. So I’m not completely sure how much my life effects the stories. Though there are many ways to tell a story so the path the the finish line probably changes more depending.

JaymonRising at 12:08PM, Nov. 10, 2018

This almost brought out something personal in me...but what I WILL say is this: my mentality for stories before 2016 was the same as Mr. Tarantino's mentality for movies: I didn't make them tailored for my country. I made them for planet Earth. Now I just try my best to adopt the UK's mindset and focus STRICTLY on what I'm good at. XP

IronHorseComics at 5:23AM, Nov. 10, 2018

I tend to be neutral or cheerful when I draw Fluffy 500. However, when writing it I get lost in the emotion of the scene, especially scenes that are full of anger or stuff that would make me tear up (good and bad). Writing also lets me forget my stressful job for a little while.

usedbooks at 4:30AM, Nov. 10, 2018

I do find myself better able to write certain Used Books characters or plots when I am struck by grief or stress. But it doesn't necessarily translate to sad story. I like happy endings. In my darkest times, I want my stories to find the light, even and especially if I cannot. In my saddest time, when I was obsessing over my situation as an unemployed leech, I wrote an inspiring short story about a character finding her place in the world. (I still haven't found mine.) I also make most of my UB characters thinking, empathetic people. I love to get lost in a world where people are, for the most part, kind and positive, where sometimes, being understanding can solve problems and violence is avoided.

Tantz_Aerine at 4:23AM, Nov. 10, 2018

Call Me Tom: I know that for a fact not to be true so you aren't. Please stop entertaining thoughts like these. // Usedbooks: I still love Gelotology!

usedbooks at 4:19AM, Nov. 10, 2018

My comic strip Gelotology was my outlet for current events. I've always coped with frustration using comedy. And the stupidity of humans is hilarious even when it's horrible.

Call Me Tom at 3:23AM, Nov. 10, 2018

Well I always seem to hurt people with what I draw and write so I guess that makes me a hurtful person. I just wish I'd realized sooner and not have carried on making stuff.

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