Thursday, 29 June 2017

Why write about "depressing" subjects?

I don't know where to start with this subject, but it's an important one, so I want to address it. I know that more people are familiar with my poetry than my fiction, as there isn't much of the latter “out there”, as yet. The fact is that I deal with dark and controversial subjects throughout all of my writing. I am focusing more upon my fiction here, although much of what I say applies across the board.

Firstly, my fictional characters are not me. They each contain facets of myself, to varying degrees, but none are me, as such. That isn't how fiction works. Some experiences of certain characters are heavily autobiographical, but there will always be fictionalised aspects, and it shouldn't be important for a reader to know what is based on my actual life experiences, and what is not. That is not to say that readers won't, or even shouldn't, be interested – and often, I will be happy to clarify and share my own stories, since I am a naturally open person.

There is definitely an element of therapy to writing for me, that is essential to my survival – to my sanity, such as it is. I do write to explore subjects because I have been through them myself, or been through something similar. Yet, this is not always the case. I have had, for my writing, to research subjects, including heroin addiction and abortion, and many others, of which I have no direct, personal experience. Is it “depressing”, if you like? Yes, at times. I would say it is deeply painful, and also makes me more compassionate – and, at times, paralysed by my own inability to fully understand, and do justice to the subjects. The social issues won't go away by ignoring them, but then again, is it enough that many of us attempt to write about them, in our fiction? Isn't there more that we can and should be doing? Sometimes it isn't easy to know what to do, but I can't close my heart or mind to themes, to which I feel drawn. I am so restricted by my own health and circumstances, and I don't have the answers – only more questions, and they replay, on an endless loop, inside my mind. I think that the best answer is that I would find it more depressing to ignore the issues, and I don't know if I will ever achieve what I ideally want to through my work, but I just have to keep going. 

I hope that this made at least some sense.


  1. I definitely agree in regards to writing serving as a kind of emotional release and therapy of sorts. It really comes out in my poetry that I would otherwise keep bottled up in my day-to-day life. I also think that depressing subjects are more relatable and resonate on a deeper level with people compared to happy and upbeat pieces. We can all relate to one another's struggles compared to envying triumphs, especially the way it's continuously flaunted on social media as a facade.

    1. Precisely. I can feel that you relate. I'm actually in the process of publishing an updated version of this post to my current blog: Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate your support.