First Wednesday of the month means another edition of Alex J Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group. You can discover more participants here.
Stop me if you've heard this before. No, on the other hand don't. It's Insecure Writers day isn't it? Old issues are still current issues and will probably linger on my mind in the future as well. I think my insecurities, doubts, concerns, or whatever you want to call them have a certain sense of legitimacy or they wouldn't haunt me so persistently.
How important is writing fiction? How can I make my stories more meaningful and add to the collective betterment of the world? When I start to delve back into finishing one of the works I've started I start getting plagued by these ridiculous questions. But are they such ridiculous questions? Have many works of fiction really, truly, made the world a better place?
After all, fiction is primarily intended to entertain readers, right? I've spent most of my life in entertainment related industries and I'm one who loves to be entertained. But how much of this speaks of indulgent excess and frivolity? I want my movies, music, and, yes, books, but how badly do I need it and to what extent? Life should be more than just seriousness and work. Entertainment escape is necessary I think, but is there a point when people strive too much for escape and if I contribute another book to the vast existing body of entertainment literature have I done something worthwhile?
Right now there are so many books about vampires, wizards, zombies, and other creatures of the magical and profane. How many variations of murder or love stories can we continue to write? Can I make my science fiction story so unique that it will supersede all others in the genre? Will my attempt at literary fiction really be all that literary? After all even a great novel like Huckleberry Finn kind of collapses into nonsense at the end leaving it a flawed "Great American Novel".
I'd like to think that I might write something with impact like the novels of Ayn Rand or Upton Sinclair. Or something on a loftier plane of thought such as the work of Albert Camus or Flannery O'Connor. Writing might seem more meaningful if I were creating works that inspired readers to think rather than me, the writer, doing the thinking for them, entertaining with a story, and in essence dumping them off at the end with a peck on the cheek and a "thanks for reading and now forget about me until my next book comes out". How much do we read that stays with us, sticks in our craw, and perhaps even changes the way we think? That's what I'd like to write, but that seems like a big mountain to climb.
Yes, I'm rambling on and on and I could keep going. I could write a book about this. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to find that somebody already has. These thoughts can not have originated with me and will be thought by others. They weigh heavy on me at times, but should they weigh me down?
The bottom line I guess is am I writing for posterity, prosperity, or just out of my posterior?