The sunny agony of non-fiction

I’ve been told, countless times, that instead of investing my time on writing about unicorns, vampires, clones, gangsters, terrorists, magic, and really messed-up imaginary societies, I should spend the valuable days of my youthful writer-hood (writer-ness, writership?) writing about things I actually know.

I’ve considered this proposal, but have never actually agreed with it. I don’t find the prospect of a book based on life in Paraguay, or an auto-biography of my painfully short amount of years of life something I would like to devote my time into. Not that I don’t love my country or my life, but somehow the idea never attracted me. At all.

You see, I use writing as an escape. I don’t claim to have a really horrible or tragic life, but I don’t write about my life. Once in a while I incorporate small details of my life or my surroundings into a story; I’ve added red dirt, lycra pants, a limited amount of water and awesome names. But I hardly ever actually write about things that happened in my life.

So why do I write about things that are impossible in real life? Because that (as I explained in my last post) is what I find is the entire point of writing. Maybe someday when I’m old with 100 grandchildren and loads of traumatizing or/and inspiring things have happened to me I’ll write an autobiography, but meanwhile I’ll just write fantasy and sci-fi.

When you’re stuck in school, work, annoying acquaintances and bothersome occurrences, it isn’t nice to come home, lie down, and open your Word document to exactly the same things you’ve just returned from. Life is almost always stressful, at least in my experience.

So, I write about things that I can’t see around me, and it becomes a secret little world I can escape to when things get too hard. Have you ever walked on the street on a very, very, very hot and sunny day? I did, today. (If feet could scream, I bet youwould hear their shrieks of agony from your house, even if you live in Russia). The life of a writer is like this:

The hot, sunny, suffering road of doom

You’re walking on a really hot road, where your feet feel like they’re going to melt into the asphalt/rock/dirt/cement and your hair is so hot it must be smoking, and your skin is burning so much that it’ll probably burst into flames at any moment with a crackle and the smell of roast beef. There is ABSOLUTELY NO SHADE anywhere. So you are forced to walk on this terrible road of doom until you can find your way to wherever it is that you have to go.

As you walk, your gaze looks around you hopefully for any sign of shade. In your mind, shade=paradise. It’s an oasis in the desert. Far ahead, you spot a solitary light pole. It gives a narrow line of shadow onto the road, and from that moment on, that one second of shade becomes the object of all your energy. You devote your speed to get there, and your sufferings are forgotten in your effort to reach the coolness of a moment of shade.

And when you pass it, you may still be hot, sweaty and generally disgusting, but you’re a little happier, and you begin to look forward to other poles, or maybe even the shadow of a tree!

That’s what writing is like. Walking under the hot, hot sun of horrifying reality, stress and irritation… and once in a while, there is this small moment of inspiration. This moment where everything is clear and you just write and write and write and write until you’ve run out of words.

So naturally, you wouldn’t write about reality all over again would you? At least, that’s how I make sense of it. If I ever really write a YA novel it will have to be significantly different than what I’m going through at that point in my life.

Am I the only person that thinks like this? Personally, I don’t know how non-fiction authors do it… they must be very patient. Or maybe I’m just too young. I don’t know.

One thought on “The sunny agony of non-fiction

  1. I’m with you 100% on this one, I write genre fiction because it’s an escape, not just for me, but anyone reading.

    What I love is where you get so wrapped up in a story that it takes you away somewhere else in your head, and that goes for both reading and writing.

    Good post.


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