Monday, April 6, 2009

Why I don't Write What I Know

Come a little closer. I have a confession. Closer. Cloooooooooser.

K, not that close.


All that conventional wisdom about write what you know? I refuse. Oh, I've done it in the past and there are any number of writing tropes that would fit perfectly in my life. Soccer mom? Lived it. Cute little Southern Town ala Fanny Flag? Lived it. Ranch life? Yup. Gotta go let the ducks down to the pond in a few minutes and gather eggs (not to mention chase my son's horse off the front porch yet again. I don't get her obsession with chewing on my porch furniture. Stick to the grass, dammit!)

I think my obession with historical periods is pretty well known, but I'm the same way about exotic locales. Gimme long ago and far away or at least one of the two. I want escapism. I want fantasy. I don't want to write about my life for anything longer than a blog post.

Life on a ranch holds no mystique to me. For some it may sound fascinating, but all I can think about is cleaning stalls and who needs to be dewormed and is it time to move the cows to the back pasture. Not really romantic fodder.

I want to read about palm trees and jungles and beaches and drawing rooms and Victorian street life and the birth of the Viennese Waltz and settling Kenya and--you get the picture. I want things as far removed from my world as possible. I want to be transported and not only when I read.

Let's face it. Like a lot of writers, I began doing this in order to entertain myself. Writing should be fun and for me, it just isn't fun to ruminate on my reality. So I've placed my writing where my reading is. No more contemporary stories set in Texas. Done.

I might write an 1880's ranch tale though. Just maybe.


Anonymous said...

Hey Mary,

I've always been the same way. My preference has always been to read and write about other times and places.

I don't feel the need to ruminate on modern issues. Give me plain enjoyment. Romanticism over Realism.

bettielee said...

hello. I don't write what I know either. Everything I know sucks.!