Life, death and the written word

In response to  From Negotiating With The Dead by Margaret Atwood

As a human being, particularly as a human being from a part of the world where your real “roots” are never really known to you, I’ve spent years of my life considering where I belong and why I wasn’t born into that place…and why I still haven’t found this mythical place.  I don’t have the answers to those questions.  I am both enraged and indifferent to the idea that I may never know.  But I do know from where I come, at least from where I come starting around age 3-7, and, for the most part, I know where I’ve been in these more than 40 years now.  I have memories and feelings about those memories.  They are ordinary to me and exotic to others, but they definitely drive the way I choose in life, so they also drive what I choose to write, and what I choose not to write.

A challenge I have always put to my writing, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, is to consider the what ifs.  What if I weren’t surrounded by this, that or the other for so longer?  What if I were born to a different class?  What if I lived in a world full of peace?  What if I lived in a world where the notion of peace didn’t exist?  The challenge of it is to see how much of the real you you can put into it without putting too much of your real life.

I do not, however, think this is something unique to the writer.


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