Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Show me the angst

I don't know what it is about me and angst. I guess I first met angst in my teenage years, and we just hit it off so strongly that I knew we'd always be friends...or something like that. 


I think everyone thought I'd grow out of the angst-heavy writing I did when I was a teenager. I poured my heart and soul into that -- NOBODY UNDERSTANDS ME AND I'M TOO GOOD FOR THIS WORLD AND YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW AND I HATE YOU ALL AND DIDN'T EVEN ASK TO BE BORN -- and it was appalling self-indulgent and kind of hilarious. (Don't tell teenage me I said that. She'll get angry. And possibly stabby.) 

But once I started focussing less on me, and actually developing characters, it turned out that my characters had a lot of angst as well. And it was better than mine. 



I think that most writers have a basic interest in what makes people tick and, more importantly, what makes people crack. And I think, at times, it's even simpler than that. Because if I have a bad day, I don't come home and kick the dog. Hell no. I come home and torture the the absolute shit out of a character. It's astonishingly therapeutic, but also makes me sometimes feel like I have to defend myself.


Seriously, I don't know how many times I've had to promise people lately that in real life I love puppies, sunshine and flowers...and also characters who are all, to some degree, emotionally fucked up. 

Because, as Ferg says to Brin in The Naughty Boy, "Everyone's got something, right?" 

I'm paraphrasing that. Couldn't be bothered look it up. 

I actually have a very cool and relatively carefree life...my family is no more screwed up than most people's, and a lot less screwed up than many. I earn pretty good money at a day job that, for all it's other faults, is at least always interesting. My personal relationships are fairly angst-free. The biggest issue in my life at the moment is remembering to call the plumber to get that leak fixed. And yet...everyone's got something. 

Moments of self-doubt and introspection. Moments of reflection. What did go wrong there? There will always be things you wish you'd got the chance to say. Things that, if you'd seen them coming, you might have been able to prevent. 

That's life, right? 

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a boy waiting for me in a Word Document who really needs to cry. 





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