Quote of the Day—Chuck Palahniuk

Yes. This. There's a certain level of detail that, as a writer, I conciously reconcile myself to revealing. For example, I knew that if I was going to write a novel based on a particular experience, I would have to disclose certain things: the fact that I was once committed to a psychiatric ward; what got me there; the things that occurred there; etc. I signed up for those things the moment I decided, "You know what? This is a good basis for a novel." However, there are details that I didn't intend to share, particularly when it comes to my feelings about certain things. In many circumstances, I find I'm not even aware I feel a particular way about something until I write about it.

This passage, which I wrote just a few days ago, comes to mind:

"Alright." Watching me seriously, he leans back and crosses his arms over his chest. "So people have these moments—maybe something good happens; maybe they meet someone they like; I don't know—but for some reason in these moments people just forget. They forget how crappy everything is and life seems okay—until another moment comes along and reminds them of all the crap. That space between the moments? That's what people call happiness."

Looking over his head into the setting sun, I squint my eyes thoughtfully. "Maybe that is happiness, James."

"No, that's delusion. Life can't be—well—life one minute and then great the next. Things don't change that easily."

I keep staring at the sunset, scratching my bitten nails across the iron tabletop. He really believes it: that the spaces between our moments sit there like empty sundae cups, waiting to be filled with something sweet and temporary. Delusion, he calls it. But if it isn't real, what's the point? I guess James would say there is none. For some reason that terrifies me.

For some reason that terrifies me. Strangely enough, that wasn't just my narrator speaking. James holds a perspective that I've encountered in someone before. When I decided to write about it, it was only an element: some strange quirk that makes for an interesting character. But once I actually sat down and started writing, I realized the effect this idea has on me. It terrifies me, simple as that.

So what deeply personal things have you revealed about yourself through writing? Anything you didn't know before?

Today's Prompt: Take any subject of political or social significance (something people generally feel strongly about) and write a short story surrounding this issue. Afterwards, read through it carefully and answer these questions:

  • Is your own perspective revealed in this piece?
  • Do you share the narrator's feelings, or do you disagree?
  • If you disagree, does that show in your story?
  • What have you learned about yourself through writing this piece?

Post your answers and any relevant passages/quotes in the comments! Happy Writing!