On Darkness

My mom has never really liked watching dramas. I’m sure there are many exceptions, but when I lived at home and she wanted to rent a DVD (maybe back then it was even a tape? God forbid) she would always lobby for a comedy. She didn’t see the point of watching something to make herself sad or afraid.

There are times I kind of agree with her. I completely hate scenes I’ve seen or read where I wish I could delete the memory of what I saw. I can call these memories to mind immediately, almost without trying – stay away from the novel “Mister Pip,” if you’re like me. Also, never check out “Imagining Argentina,” with Emma Thompson and Antonio Banderas. Who could forget the premise of Sophie’s Choice, where a mother has to choose which of her kids to send to the gas chamber or else lose both? (This last one is the only work I could even bring myself to describe). Each of these creations burned permanent holes in my brain. I have a much thicker skin for observing emotional trauma than my mom does, but I still think there are some scenes that are better left unimagined.

So that’s what I’m writing about here today. My struggle with writing dark subject matter. My first book was a comedy, and making jokes and cute scenes comes much more easily to me than the book I’m writing now, which is in a setting of darkness. I want to write about love persevering, and goodness overcoming evil, but my mom’s face is always looming around in my mind, cringing as I delve deeper. But how can we value love if we don’t understand hate, right? The best stories embrace the conflict between both, while still not going too far.

Help me find the courage to create the demons so that love can overcome them.

1 Comment

  1. Jo won’t let me mention the Saw series of movies. Can’t even say the word. “Honey, I’ll be out felling that dead tree with my chain-machine-cutter-downer.”

    Seriously. Try talking to her about them sometime and see what happens.

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