As I mull over my characters and story, I can’t help but psychoanalyze myself as ideas pour out of my brain and onto paper. Am I only making my story like this because of some trauma in my childhood? I think to myself. Am I trying to resolve my own subconscious dilemma? Well… DUH! my thirteen year old self would say to old lady me (I thought people in their mid thirties were old back then). Of course I’m trying to resolve some subconscious dilemma. That’s a given. I guess the real surprise is the nature of the dilemma itself. It shouldn’t be a surprise, but it is.
We like to think that our minds have a higher thought process and toil over deeper questions of sociopolitical meaning important to human existence (and maybe yours does), but for me…. Alas, earwax.
Earwax, indeed. The point is, as lofty as we hope our subconscious rumination is… as much as we would love to be riddling out the solution to world hunger or global intolerance, at the heart of it, our subconscious is just as wrapped up in our personal concerns as our conscious mind. Often, it seems to be more so — like a focused laser beam that won’t let our conscious minds move past something until we have reasoned out a satisfactory explanation. I hesitate to say solution, since many of our deepest subconscious riddles really have no solution as it were, rather we just get past the issues and move on.
So all of that is a fancy way of saying that I see themes emerging in my story and with my characters reminiscent of my own recent struggles, and I’m frustrated because I don’t want to be a narcissist in my writing. On some level, though, is it possible to be anything else? We all experience life through our own minds, so is narcissism avoidable?
I guess it comes down to whether you are interested and capable of extrapolating your inner issues into something relatable to others which they find [insert adjective such as, entertaining, useful, moving, etc.]. On that note, I won’t know until I’m done. I will just have to wait and see where my inner demons take me and hope it is in the same direction as my conscious desire to touch and entertain readers.
About the Photograph: Taken at an aquarium on Oahu, Hawaii in August, 2009.