I’ll stick to fiction, thank you!

      2 Comments on I’ll stick to fiction, thank you!

 

Every
family has at least one. Maybe it’s an aunt that lives far away and never
attends family get-togethers, or an uncle that no one ever mentions.  Or maybe it’s a cousin who causes everyone in
the room to shake their head sadly whenever his or her name comes up in
conversation.
Every
family has at least one, but my family is littered with them. Perhaps it’s
because my mother and her family were sharecroppers in the Deep South. There
were nine children, five girls and four boys, all living with their parents in
what most would call a hovel. Poor does not come close to describing their
economic status.
Life
was difficult, and it isn’t surprising that few of them graduated from
high school. So who can really blame the ones who conducted their lives more like
a soap opera than a stable family life?
Take one of my relatives as an example. She’s nearing seventy and has never held a job in her life. Instead of a traditional job she’s made it
her life’s work to marry the perfect man. To date she has been married six
times, and not once has one of her marriages ended in divorce. All her husbands
have died, but not of natural causes.
Her
story would make a good drama, but I wouldn’t touch it with the proverbial
ten-foot pole. She’s probably the least ethical and most money hungry person
I’ve ever met. To make a deal with her for her life story rights would be
identical to making a deal with the devil. No matter how much she was given she
would never be satisfied. I shiver to think of the mess it would create.
They
are my family. We share genes. But that certainly does not mean that I have to
write about them, no matter how much fodder they provide.
I write fiction. Like most writers, I often draw
from my own experiences to form the basis for the stories. It helps to me to
create more depth in the stories, make them more believable and real.
But although I do sometimes use family members,
friends, and even strangers I meet on the street to inspire my characters and
stories, my final product is always an invention of my imagination. That little
glimmer of reality, that part that inspires the story, lives a short yet
fruitful life. It provides a beacon that burns only until the bright light of
imagination takes over.
So no matter where I begin, no matter who or what
served as my inspiration, by the time I’ve finished the story there is very
little similarity between the original and my creation.
It is safer that way, and more fun. I prefer to
write fiction. I enjoy creating new worlds and situations, being in full
control of the beginning, the middle, and the end.

2 thoughts on “I’ll stick to fiction, thank you!

  1. DM

    As one of your uneducated, dirt poor relatives that has lived my life as if it was a soap opera, I find this post offensive.

    Go back and read what you wrote again. As a writer you should know that words have power and can hurt.

    This post makes you sound judgmental, arrogant, pompous and like you feel you are better than your family. Even if that is the way you feel, it is not a good idea to state it publicly. All this will do is make you look bad. When I read this post, I got mad and I know you and figure that you did not mean to sound the way you do. So imagine how it sounds to someone who does not know you as well as I do.

    Not everyone in your family is dirt poor, they are not all uneducated, and many of them have had normal lives. Do you not realize that you have lumped Mama into your generalization of how southerners are? Think about it.

    Reply

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