July 15, 2008

Writer’s Guilt = Writer’s Prompt

Filed under: characters,Grey Gardens,mental illness,writing prompts — writebrainit @ 1:12 am

I had every intention of coming home this evening and writing. I am not doing so well with my goal of writing every night. Tomorrow I am coming home and cleaning the writing area first thing (I might even come home and do some of it over my lunch hour). It’s happening – I hate feeling guilty over getting nothing done.

When I was home over lunch today, I had the Sundance Channel on and saw that Grey Gardens was going to be on about 15 minutes after I left. Now I knew about this crazy aunt and cousin of Jackie O’s because of the Broadway Musical that did well at the Tony’s last year. I have the cd and had an idea of what it was about, but didn’t realize there was a ‘documentary’ movie about the two of them. So I taped it, and when I got home, I just popped it in to make sure it taped. I was trapped. I couldn’t stop watching, even to pause it and make myself dinner. I was enthralled, appalled and saddened for these two women.

Working with people who have mental health concerns makes me a little more sensitive to those who are depicted in the movies. These women were two of the most dysfunctional women I have ever seen. I believe the aunt was actually the more stable of the two, but physically, she had so many concerns. The cousin was truly one of the more unhealthy people I have ever seen depicted.

After it was over, I thought, my goodness, what fantastic characters. And then being sensitive to the mentally ill, thought ‘how horrible of you to think of them as characters.’ But…

Then it got me thinking more of whom I know – friend, relation, acquaintance who should be a character. What makes a great character. I got to thinking of the stories I have written and wondered who I know that I have written into a story. Do you know that other than myself (I think I am often in my stories, but that is because I tend to become the main character – which could become disturbing when I am working on my psychological thriller about a sociopathic serial killer.)

So that is my new challenge to myself – finding the characters in my life and depicting them on the page.


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