Bringing Important Issues to Light Through Fiction

This past weekend I watched the HBO movie “The Normal Heart.”  It dealt with the very early days of the AIDS epidemic in New York by focusing on a group of friends/activists who are trying to gain attention, funding, etc to the cause while their lovers and friends are dropping like flies from the disease.  While incredibly sad, it was also interesting to me as I deal with this very same issue in the sequel to my novel, “Red, White & Blues” except the location is San Francisco.  I have had the pleasure to know and love many gay friends, some of whom are no longer with us because of AIDS while others are dealing with HIV and still others are lucky enough to be healthy.  Bringing issues like AIDS to light through likable, engaging and sympathetic fictional characters is important to me.  I did the very same thing in “Red, White & Blues” by creating characters that had been through the Vietnam War and then came home to deal with PTSD, discrimination, etc.  Sometimes the best way to educate people about an issue is to show them that these people are just like them.  They love, have friends, families, jobs.  It is an honor for me to bring these characters to life so that we may all learn to sympathize and care.

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Battling Depression Through Writing

I have depression.  And anxiety.  I used to take medication for these conditions, but after ten years of not having any real feelings about anything and gaining ten pounds, I stopped using it.  Now I’m back to being subjected to intense emotional swings, near debilitating anxiety and crying spells.  Do I regret stopping the medication.  No, not at all.  I lost ten years of emotion and I need to feel to write.  My characters are deeply rooted extensions of myself.  Their emotions are mine and I want to share what they feel and experience accurately.  So I sit in front of my computer and tap out scenes that I hope convey realistic emotion.  I also use my novel and the upcoming sequel as an escape from myself through my characters.  Being artistic and having an emotional temperament is difficult for logical types to understand.  And having this type of personality makes it very difficult to hold down traditional jobs.  My mind is constantly in my fantasy world and that is where I like to be.  I think this makes me a good writer, but creates for me a difficult existence in this world.  I am sure that other creators will understand how I feel.  Just wanted to share this as I’m having a particularly difficult day today.  Back to writing…