I had a very interesting conversation with a friend of mine today who pointed out my story, The Rain Song, is dark. Really? I never thought of it that way, so of course I was surprised to hear it described as such. Then I mentioned that the only real dark portions are the ones I took from the headlines in the town I live in, which of course brings to light just how dark real life can be.
We hear about so much of the negative things going on in the world through the newspapers, news channels, even the internet news sources, and it makes me wish that there as an outlet that filled us in on the good news 24/7. I know… it wouldn’t last long because we’ve become a society that is obsessed with sensationalism, but it’s a nice dream. Just like I dream for a day when there isn’t even one child in the world being abused or neglected, and that hunger is no longer an issue for anyone. While my stories usually deal with the paranormal evils lurking about, it’s really mankind that I feel is the most evil at times.
Coming face to face with people who have been on the receiving end of human evil, I guess I can understand why I don’t see how the stories I write are nearly as dark as what some people have experienced firsthand. I’ve worked with a woman whose only son is serving time in prison for setting his girlfriend on fire. I’ve had a hair stylist who was set on fire by her boyfriend (I didn’t have the guts to find out if they were the same woman). I’ve known children so horribly abused they tried to kill themselves in the hopes of making their pain go away. I’ve had my own moments of darkness, one of which I was cornered by my (now ex) husband and thought of jumping through a second story window to escape, knowing I was pregnant, but also knowing that if he got hold of me, I was dead (I’m still thankful the cops showed up for a dispute involving the downstairs neighbors). I can think of so many more that it would take days possibly weeks to properly write down and yet I’m still an avid believer (sucker, if you will) for happy endings.
Maybe it’s the fact that the stories I write are fiction. Maybe that’s why I mainly see the family aspect within the story instead of the threatening evil in the peripheral. Maybe I’m able to see that while others see the darkness within it. Or maybe it’s a case of not being able to see the forest for the trees. Either way, it’s still interesting to me how different people will take the same story (or experience) and see something different. I guess that’s one of the reasons why I like to share what I write, to see the same thing through other people’s eyes. More disturbing to me though is how sometimes life imitates art.
During Halloween I was passing out candy to the neighborhood kids and was just starting to enjoy a lull when there was another knock on the door. Grabbing the big bowl of candy, I opened the door to see two boys, wearing normal everyday clothes standing at the door, the younger of the two standing behind his big brother. I didn’t think anything about it since we live in a poorer neighborhood and quickly gave the candy to the big brother and watched as he moved to the side to let his brother have his turn. Obviously the angle the small boy was compared to the light on the porch interfered a bit with me seeing his face, until he turned to leave. His face had burn scars and his left hand was missing digits of fingers along with more scarring… it took me a moment to realize I had come face to face with a real live version of Micah, a character in my book!
With everything I read and hear in the news as well as personal accounts, I have to borrow a phrase from Dean Winchester from the show Supernatural, “Demons I get, people are crazy!” With that said, is it any wonder why I was clueless as to how “dark” my book really is?