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Kicking down walls.

When I was a teenager I was firmly dedicated to one type of music. I flooded my room with Nirvana, Offspring, Korn, Disturbed, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Hole and other bands like that. I wore the oldest cardigan in the world (it had been my fathers I think) with a million tatty holes in it. Β I had bracelets made of paper clips, my nose was pierced and most of my clothes were purchased from op shops. Complete with t-shirt with foreign phrase that I never bothered interpreting. That was a cool T shirt. It had a camel and a palm tree on it.

Anyways….

I flat out refused to listen to anything else. It was part of my identity, and there was no way I would allow my ears to be tainted with other stuff. Not the mainstream. No. Nothing popular. Nothing with mass appeal. I confess there were times I enjoyed something and then got rid of it when it caught on with the in crowd.

Oh boy. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit to really. I was SUCH a music snob. What’s worse is that I was limiting myself by placing that definition on me. I was grunge, baby, I was rock.

These days I listen to a huge variety of music. I’ve finally cast off my self made shackles and enjoy anything that takes my fancy. It spans the range, and may change at any point in time.

Which brings me to my writing.

For so long now I’ve said I’m a writer of speculative fiction. Well, I am. Predominantly. That said, about 20% of what I write, is not.

I know as writers we tend to put ourselves in boxes. We write this genre, or that. But Gods, we’d never consider writing that. I’ve said it before. It’s an easy thing to say: I’ll never write romance. I couldn’t do mystery. Writing about normal people in the real world is boring.

Those are my words. I’ll own them. But I’ll also say that like my music tastes, my writing follows what captures my interest.

We use sentences like the ones above to help us define ourselves, to figure out where we fit into the world and how we relate to those around us. Attaching a genre to our writing is an easy way to identify people who might be like minded, who might make good writing buddies, who might become part of our writers inner circle.

We need to surround ourselves with people who *get* our writing. Who appreciate what we’re working on and what we’re aiming for.

And yet, I find myself currently writing non spec-fic. General fiction, probably. And loving it.

Like my music tastes, my tastes in what I write and read are widening. I’ll give anything a go these days. It doesn’t have to be horror, or science fiction, or some type of fantasy. Whatever takes my fancy.

It’s liberating, kicking down the walls I’ve imposed on myself.

Yes, I’m a writer of speculative fiction. But I also write other stuff πŸ˜‰

Yes I love to read spec-fic, but if the story is good, if it captures me, then I couldn’t care less what genre it is!

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9 thoughts on “Kicking down walls.”

  1. I’m still a bit snobby in my music tastes, but I’ve been introduced to other than my usual fiction the past couple of years and, for the most part, it was rather painless. Some I actually enjoyed! πŸ™‚ As writers, we probably should be careful how much we limit our exposures. New experiences are just more story ideas to draw on, right?

    1. That’s a great way of looking at it! I remember one of my high school teachers telling me I should read widely instead of sticking to such a narrow type of book – it took me a good ten years or so to actually take that advice though. Think of all the good books I haven’t read, simply because they didn’t fit my definition of who I am and what I read? Variety is, they say, the spice of life.

  2. Wonderful! Kick down all the walls you find in your life. Later, if you want, you can put up a few new ones–just watch out for the walls that grow up on their own, when you’re not watching. :)TX

  3. Hurray for diversity!! I will always be a headbanger, but lately jazz has supplanted. Likewise, I write mostly commercial fiction, but literary, women’s lit and sci-fi weave their way into the works. I doubt a western or thriller are lurking, but one never knows. πŸ™‚

    1. that’s so right – one just never knows what might crop up six months from now! My next full length novel is actually going to be part mystery, though, kind of sci-fi and dark and edgy I think.

  4. I too am a recovering Music/Literary snob. My wife played Jimmy Buffett for years before I’d bother to listen to one single line of such trite, three-chord crap. Now, I hear the stories within his music. I notice the variety of plots, musical stylings, and willingness he has to sing whatever the hell he wants. I find it inspires me as a reader and writer. Why can’t I enjoy a Cozy Mystery? Why not pick up a Science Fiction book instead of whatever won the Pulitzer? To hell with it. Life is meant to be explored, not categorized.
    Thanks for sharing.

    -John.

    1. So true, John, so true. Life is meant to be explored – sums it up perfectly! The more things you can find pleasure in, the nicer life is πŸ™‚

  5. I believe the expression is: This.

    It’s one thing to be defined by the type of things you predominantly read, or write, or listen to. It’s another thing to be limited by them. And isn’t pushing one’s own personal limits a large part of growing as a writer? I’d give it away if I thought I’d run out of ways to challenge myself …

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