Writers Write to…
I read something today and then tweeted:
and well, it got me thinking. I almost went on a whole tangent on Twitter but held back because let’s face it–me rambling in 140 characters, it’s called, losing followers that way-ha!
C.J. Redwine–who I have mentioned countless times in the past that I love to pieces–did a tremendously brave thing today, she posted a vulnerably powerful statement about incest and the abuse associated with it. Why incest? Well, last night was the Lifetime premiere of the newest adaptation of The Flowers in the Attic–the highly anticipated, highly controversial book of most of our parent’s childhoods.
It’s interesting when certain things of sensitive nature are adapted to film because they seem to lift the load of how sensitive the nature being shown actually is. Suddenly, in movie form, the matter has been transformed for our Entertainment benefit. The matter in subject seems less possible in real life and even when (especially with Lifetime movies) we see that white text on a black screen in the beginning of the movies that says,
Based on True Events or Based on a True Story
We lose touch with that possibility once we enter “watching mode” and our brains switch into “Entertainment Reception”. Why can I state this as fact? Well, because I do it. I have done it and still do and if I do, well, naturally, I couldn’t possibly be the only one. Even after the movie last night–The Flowers in the Attic–another movie came on that one of my besties and I began watching and it was apparently based on true events.
It was a creepy thriller about an ex husband who rigged a home to watch from every room his ex wife and people began mysteriously dying, doors would be opened in the middle of the night after a loud noise shot through the house and the whole time me and Vane are screaming at the television because we were baffled at how naive and ridiculous the main character was acting.
Main character…see, she wasn’t a real person in our heads. She was an actress in a movie on Lifetime entertaining us. I kept chiming in almost every half hour,
“Oh my goodness, and remember, this is based on a true story.”
Right, so CJ shared how yesterday, the Twitter world had a variety of comments, live-tweeting during the movie last night. Many commented on the incest between the brother and sister, the brother and mother, the mother and father, uncle, grandparents, etc. Apparently, most of these comments ended in punchline jokes.
If you would like to read CJ. Redwine’s brave thoughts on the matter, feel free–only if you’re genuinely interested to–perhaps, someone out there who has, or is struggling needs to read someone else’s courage to help find their own.
Incest Isn’t The Punchline by C.J. Redwine
So this post got me thinking. It got me thinking of the writer of The Flowers in the Attic, V.C. Andrews and what caused them to write this not just book, but series. It got me thinking of a recent popular series involving incest through a more Supernatural Fantasy type setting, The Mortal Instruments. Why incest? What was the idea behind Cassandra Clare making this a central theme within the books? Was it just to take a different take on YA books, include something not typical and slightly controversial? Was it to make a point of some kind?
Then I thought about CJ’s post again, and her struggle with abuse when she was younger and all the people I know and don’t know who have, who are, who will struggle with psychological and sexual abuse as children growing up.
Fiction writers…and the power they possess.
Some people may read books like The Flowers in the Attic and only view it as an entertainment piece of fiction. They may even just be in it to read about the sister and brother getting together. Others may have read it and spewed thoughts and comments of how disgusted they are or make jokes about the different scenarios between brother sister, brother mother, mother father, mother uncle, etc…
It was almost too easy to just view this as a piece of fiction, that told a disturbing story that was sad and had crazy characters and “Oh, my goodness, what was the writer thinking?”
Then I realized something...(not having a single clue on V.C. Andrews purpose behind writing this series) what a powerful tool, taking us inside the mind of a victim of sexual/psychological abuse, they’re experience having a voice we could experience with them through a book.
…the power of a fiction writer…not always just for entertainment sake but sometimes to shed light on truths & struggles
As an aspiring writer, it reminds me that through even or especially, fiction writing, one possesses the power to bring in others and ignite compassion, understanding, empathy, sympathy, freedom…
Many times, we as people may feel sympathetic in theory about other peoples experiences, circumstances, and what not, but in truth, unless we ourselves go through something, we don’t connect, we can’t truly understand.
I remember 9/11 and sitting home (I didn’t go to school that day) glued to the television all day, holding my breath practically, watching over and over the reality and tragedy that hit our nation…only, it didn’t hit our nation as a whole, it hit NY and D.C. and three planes full of people and all their families.
I felt an ache. I felt the fear. But all too easily, this was no longer a reality for me. A week later, it was still something to talk about but it was easily “out of sight, out of mind”…why? Because I wasn’t there. I wasn’t affected in Florida as those in New York were. My way of life did not radically change at all, compared to those who were physically there. I didn’t lose anyone during that terrible day. It didn’t happen to me, it happened to my nation which in turn, felt personal but it wasn’t the same. Not the same as the victims and their friends and families.
The power of books. The power to tell a story and take us there. It’s almost the closest we can come to feeling like it happened to us, that we ourselves experienced it. Not even movies can do that. They have a level of affecting us, sure, but somehow, a book stays with us longer. We were there, we heard the thoughts, anticipated their reactions due to emotions and inner dialogue.
Writers write to entertain, sure–it’s what I write and love–but how wonderful that writers even of the fiction genre have a voice and can give a voice to those who have been told they don’t have one.
It a beautiful thought, huh?