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20 April 2007 @ 06:50 pm
It's a thin line  
Where does creative writing end and criminally actionable psychosis begin? Salon asks the question in an article about the frequent dilemma of English instructors across the nation.

As the Virginia Tech shooter's plays were being shown in tv news broadcasts I was reminded of the string of stories and poems I wrote about suicide when I was a teenager trying to come to terms with my mother's series of attempted suicides. I was just trying to wrap my brain around the reason or reasons why she might have wanted to die, so I had a number of scenarios where my characters decided to kill themselves. The one that comes most readily to mind involved a lonely and isolated elderly widow who decided to starve herself to death and died in her attic surrounded by her mementos and photo albums, remembering her husband and family. (I no longer have the story.) I suppose someone could have concluded that I was suicidal, but that was not the case. I could picture someone writing the oft quoted plays if they were trying to deal with feelings about a past experience of abuse. Who knew the author would end up committing mass murder?

I just hope that we don't end up going too far in the other direction and prevent the kind of catharsis I experienced and insight that I gained in writing my short stories.
3treekisser3treekisser on April 22nd, 2007 08:40 am (UTC)
Agreed. I've certainly written suicidal stuff before, it's a great way to let out stress and nothing more (hey that rhymes!).

I think what people need to do is find out what it is that differentiates someone who writes icky stuff and leaves it at that, versus someone who writes icky stuff and goes on to be even ickier. Once that factor, if it exists, or the set of circumstances is found, then it would take the pressure off of the writing itself.