I am me; not who others think I should be.
When I write, I write for me. I know what I like, so that’s what I write about. I stay away from topics I find offensive, which places me among writers whom many of our critics label “conventional” and “old school.” I don’t think being conventional is a bad thing. But it seems many critics believe writers should be avant-garde, pushing the envelope of taboos to acme just to shock and titillate their audience.
I don’t like vulgarity, but it’s a common theme in contemporary adult fiction. However, I prefer not to read extreme foul language, extreme violence, sex, or any other types of debauchery in literature. If there is an audience for it, I’m not a member. Keep it in the porn shops.
But it’s in all the bookstores. Even in the children’s section.
I know this because one of my critics suggested I read current books written for the age group of adolescents I write about in my books.
Imagine my surprise and disbelief when I read a recent popular YA novel about werewolves and vampires where foul language and graphic violence and sex occurred in almost every chapter.
Why are YA authors making this crudeness a reality and turning their young readers into voyeurs?
Perhaps they mimic life in the city, which hardened some of my relatives and made them crude, rude and almost criminal. Or maybe they find it on TV and the Internet, which are cornucopias of everything mentioned. I don’t know. I grew up during the late 1960s and early ’70s out in the country, went to a small school in a rural town, and kept my virginity into my 20s. It’s how life was for me. I know it well, remember it easily, and write about it a lot.
And that makes me “conventional” and “old school” to certain others who try to manipulate what’s inside the books we read.
Bah! I enjoy reading what I write. It’s the innocence of youth, when becoming an adult was years away and adolescents didn’t worry about pregnancy and STDs. It’s out of touch, I’m told, with most of today’s adolescents, but it’s in touch with me.
And when I write, I write for me.