I’ve been thinking about what makes me write, and what makes writing interesting. I find a lot of gray goo out there. You know what I mean, writing that you can’t remember five minutes after you put the book down or go back to your kindle’s homepage. So how do we add more interest to our writing, make it stand out and stick to our reader’s brain, without simply indulging in shock factor?
Why do I have a drive to write, anyway? Well, it amuses me. And I’m an odd person, which seems to translate into telling tales. So is that the answer, to amuse my writers? Not in the funny hah-ha sense, but in the thought provoking, emotionally responsive, make them *feel something* sense.
I was thinking this morning, as I was folding towels and realizing I need to replace some, that most of my life is boring. Most of all our lives are boring, really. I mean, you don’t want to hear about my towels. But when we start talking to people, we talk about the interesting parts of life. And folks seem to find my life interesting. I never really understood why, other than the weirdness of having been born in the US and raised as far outside mainstream culture as possible, until I read Sarah Hoyt’s blog for a while.
She wrote on being an Odd, one day, which I highly recommend taking a look at here, and it was like a lightbulb going off. I’ve known for about ten years (give or take a couple years) that one of the few communities I’d ever felt at home with was the Baen Bar forums, also known as Barflies. Despite being this ( ) close to being a teetotaller (It’s nothing against good booze, just that I’m a lightweight, and a paranoid one, I don’t drink alone in public) I have proudly identified myself as a Barfly for a long time now. Some of the people I met have become friends, closer than family. One has become my best friend. But I didn’t understand why until I’d thought through that post of Sarah’s.
I am an Odd. Even had I grown up with public education and TV and electricity and all that jazz, I’d still be an Odd. Quite likely a really sad, messed up one, though. As you read my work, you’ll see that I’m a country girl, family is really important to me, the most important job I’ll ever have is motherhood, and I believe in love. Once upon a time, those things wouldn’t have made me an Odd, but the more I read and see from our American culture, the more sadly I see that belief in humanity and happiness ebbing. I’m not going to get into why, better minds than I are tackling that… and I do not plan to discuss politics or religion here.
What I am doing is raising my kids to be Odd, too. My eldest daughter just recently started to comment about problems at school. She has always loved school, so when she told me, in tears, that she wished she was stupid, my radar went off that something was wrong. Turns out she is being picked on for being the smartest girl in class. That’s not just proud Mama, she really is, and on top of that she is funny and beautiful (all right, a little proud Mama, there. She’s awesome, and unlikely to read my blog). The other girls, in particular, gang up on her for it. She told me that her friends are all outcasts, and like her, they get called geeks and nerds. I told her that is a good thing. Chances are, she and her friends will be doing really interesting things, and leading interesting lives, when they are grown up, and the mockers will be leading vanilla lives that no-one wants to hear about.
Chances are, if you’re reading my blog, you’re an Odd, too. How will you write oddly?