“So, what do you like to you do on your free time?”
“Play games, hang out, write.”
“Oh so you’re a writer? What do you write about?”
I will always get this question whenever it comes up. I suppose it’s natural that people become curious; not everyone writes for fun.
What do I write about? It’s a question that I can never answer clearly or with confidence. I write about a lot of things. Even now I’m having trouble finishing this train of thought. I guess a common theme would be slice of life. For those who haven’t heard that term before, it revolves around the everyday life of a person. Nothing fantastic or supernatural happens, it’s just life. Within this life, I like to explore the relationships between people: whether it’s old friendships being rekindled (or vanishing), random encounters with people, or love.
I do like writing about love. A lot. Love is something that fascinates me because it’s something that can completely change a person’s personality, lifestyle and way of thinking. It’s a storm of emotions that never remains consistent. The thought that one person can significantly affect one’s life intrigues me. I hate sappy, cliche romances though; stuff you might see in a rom-com or a in a cheap, paperback book that’s on a rotating display of a supermarket. I like going deep and exploring the feelings two people may have for each other, or how their surroundings and events may affect/test their relationship. Whether it’s a young man longing and reminiscing the one that got away or watching a pair trying to maintain their relationship as life around them changes drastically, that’s what I like to write about. But I think I’d want to start writing about other things once my main ideas for books comes to fruition. Maybe a mystery novel would be interesting.
Another theme that I love to explore is the past. To a fault, I am a nostalgic person. Ever since I was a kid, I always treasured special moments in my life and would relive them in my head multiple times. Whether it was being the kid that helped win a soccer game, playing an arcade game with three of my friends, or rides on the school bus, I was always collecting memories for me to keep and remember. i used to talk to them a lot to my friends but anyone would get tired of the same story over and over again. While I still think about these memories (even the ones I just mentioned) today, I have used writing as a tool to record them into something permanent. I’ve been told that I have a great long term memory but even I am beginning to forget about things in the past. Writing is one way I can counteract that.
Still, I think about the past way too much. It’s almost unhealthy. I should be looking to the future and living in the present. However, when I write about past memories in some sort of prose, I no longer think about it too much because I know it’s there. Maybe I keep thinking about it because I don’t want to forget? Who knows. The current novella I’m writing focuses on this issue (combined with love, which is very dangerous concoction) so maybe I’ll be less nostalgic after I finish that. Probably not. I’m okay either way.
In a conversation, I am unable to explain what I write about it the way I just wrote above. It usually comes out as “Oh you know, just stuff,” or “Slice of life kind of things, some romance.” I used to be really hesitant in saying the word romance. “Maybe they won’t take me seriously”, “They’ll probably think of a harlequin romance book”, “That just sounds really stupid”. These thoughts would linger in my mind and I would stop myself from saying it. Nowadays though, I’m better at it. I still hesitate though because if someone actually wants to explore that topic more, I get really ambiguous. “Why?” I would tell myself. Someone actually wants to know more about my writing, why wouldn’t I want to share it?
I knew why. Because I’d be indirectly talking about my love life. If a writer tells you that a story they wrote wasn’t influenced by or wasn’t based on some aspect in their life, then they’re probably lying to you. I think our lives clearly influence what we write about, whether it’s some weird dream we had or a moment in your life that was memorable to you or whatever other reason. The interested person wouldn’t know why I might get quiet, but I would. I always found that to be funny because it’s not like a lot of people knew about specific details about my love life; they wouldn’t be able to guess that it’s me that I’m writing about. I try to keep it that way; I try not to kiss and tell (too much). It does affect what I write about though. I’m not saying that I write word for word about some girl I used to like/go out with and just change the names. That’s too boring. I could just write on a journal or blog for that. What I like to do is collect all my thoughts and feelings I have had at various points in my life (whether it’s love-related or not) and make a story out of it. Maybe some things were based on my life. But they wouldn’t happen the same way. They might even go in a complete opposite way. Instead of the man denying the advances of a girl he doesn’t like, he accepts them. The two enter a bizarre relationship rather than avoiding it completely. That’s just an example. I’m opening myself a bit more nowadays if I ever get into this type of questioning , so I hope that trend continues. I mean, I’m not just writing some book for no one but me to read it. I’m going to show it to everyone eventually, what’s answering a few questions going to hurt?
So I suppose that’s what I write about. If I could only find a good way to say all of this in a few sentences, maybe I won’t freeze up in the next conversation. Writing this has given me a few ideas though.