Friday, July 20, 2012

Positively Realistic: Mining the Dark Side

I believe in living life to the fullest and in looking for the bright side of life, but the truth is that in order for me to be--and become--a strong writer with a story to tell, I must mine the dark side of life. I must look into dark corners. I must acknowledge the dark secrets all human beings carry in the depths of their souls. Only by paying homage to the dark side of life will I bring true depth to my stories.

Negativity ignored doesn't mean negativity doesn't exist. It does. In every person's heart and soul, regardless of the image cast upon the viewing world, there exists fears, doubts, concerns, secrets, dark memories. Even one of the most spiritual women I have admired throughout the years once confessed that in the still of the night she questioned the very existence of God. But then, in the morning, when she arose to do her charity work amongst the orphaned and diseased and deserted in India, she presented a positive and caring and devoted face.

This positivity thing is a choice. And I applaud all who choose it. I try to be that person as well, but I cannot ignore the negativity of life nor can I avoid discussing it with other people--usually writers or at times in this blog--because this darkness is what must be revealed if my readers are going to truly empathize with my characters.

I hope that in some way that by revealing my own doubt and despair throughout this journey through life that I am connecting with my readers in ways that will give them the strength to face their own dark secrets and overcome them.

Because after acknowledging the dark, we can then look for the light and be warmed by the hope it gives to all of us. It's there in every world religion, in every culture, in every human's heart. All people, all over the world, know universal truths that span the boundaries of distance and time. We are all connected by this global knowledge.

Pain, suffering, fears, doubts, pasts, secrets, love lost, love won, and the reality of death are not exclusive conditions. I cannot pretend they don't exist when I am mining my heart and soul as I build my characters and tell their stories.

And then when my characters overcome the dark chains of their pasts, when they reveal their innermost vulnerable selves to one another, when they grow to accept who they are and each other unconditionally, they receive the greatest reward. They receive the happily-ever-after they deserve.

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