I had a realisation a little while ago about where it is that I aim to write from. It came about during a conversation with a friend. We were talking about how everyone has deeply held secrets about all kinds of things, the kind of stuff about yourself or your past that you don’t tend to share with just anybody. What they are varies from person to person and a lot of the times they are just embarrassing rather than criminal in nature. We got onto the topic of sharing those things and the idea that in your life you are probably lucky to have one maybe two people that you know and trust enough to share those kind of things with. Also that, quite often, when you do tell somebody they’re nowhere near as bad as they’ve felt to you once they are spoken out loud.
Which got me thinking about writing, because I realised that a lot of what I write about and the kind of feelings that I try to capture in my stories are those kind of things. The deeply held emotions and thoughts that everybody has and yet not many people feel comfortable talking about on the regular. I feel that my writing is at its best when I tap into a vein of these uncomfortable emotions. The unspoken feelings that everybody has.
Because, empathy for a universal experience is something that connects people to a story. You know when you’re reading a book and you have that feeling of “this book gets me”. Empathy can be a weird thing and it doesn’t have to be a direct parallel for it to resonate with the reader. Think of emotions as a colour wheel, if you hit a shade that the reader has felt before they will more than likely be able to connect that emotion with something from their own experience. It doesn’t have to be the same or even a similar experience, just one that invokes the emotional colour for them to be able to connect with it on a visceral level and in doing so become more involved with what they are reading.
And that, is what I’m aiming for and where I try to write from. I like to sit down there in the dark with the things that don’t get talked about and give them a voice.