For the past several months or so (shoot, lets just say since late summer '08) most of the writing related posts on the blog have been relatively upbeat/positive/informative/downright goofy. Some have even made you think really hard to come up with a good answer.
I've asked you over that time things like why did you pick your particular niche/genre; why you got into writing; your opinion on my writing; whether or not I should post certain types of stories here; even asked for input on how to write sex without turning people off. I've even made a thinking out loud post that really didn't have any question to it.
Today's post is a bit more challenging, simply because it deals with a negative aspect of writing. Negative meaning something that you truly detest and that you try your damnedest to avoid coming into any contact with it.
I was talking to a co-worker the other day about how I spent my last couple of furlough days (for the uninformed, our state is facing a deficit of about 7 billion dollars over the next couple of years. we as state employees gave one day back in FY '09, and are giving back three days for the next two fiscal years). I spent the past two (May 22nd and July 6th) simply walking around town trying to find a quiet spot to do some writing.
Each time my journeys have brought me to the center of town, or to be more precise, the official town park where the town pools and playgrounds are, along with the gazebo, ball fields and waterfalls. Almost everywhere else that I've gone in the past couple of years to do my writing has been positive and rewarding.
Except at the playground.
At the playground, my inspiration for the past thirteen months there has been all negative. No positive reinforcement, no happy sensible writing, and definitely no stories exploring God, Nature, and the opposite sex. Instead, it's all been incredibly nasty and negative.
To explain: Back in June of last year, I was doing the daddy day care thing at the park (family was on a cruise to the Bahamas I believe), when I had the unfortunate experience of coming into contact with the local constabulary. Please click on the link for the entire sordid story. Anyways, since then, absolutely nothing even remotely resembling a positive/happy story has oozed from my pen. All things nasty and extremely negative have oozed from my pen whenever I had the misfortune of spending any time at the playground (only the playground does this happen, nowhere else in the park).
Example #1: The short story Disconnected had its beginnings while I was at the playground one day, which I finished up at home. The rottenness that oozed from my pen while I was there, continued to ooze rottenness when I finished it a few hours later at home (where do you think the ending came from? the same rottenness that permeated the story, seeped into my brain and caused me to write a somewhat disturbing ending).
Example #2: I wrote another short story on the 5/22 furlough day, entitled appropriately enough, The Furlough Day. Friends, this story is probably the only piece of non-fiction that you will see grace my other blog. As a matter of record, I started this story there, worked on it some more when I had lunch in the center, then actually finished it while walking home. I think it's the first and only time that I wrote a story (about two and a half pages) in exactly one total hour.
My mojo is so utterly devoid of anything positive that now I can't even start a story there (at the playground) for fear of having an encounter with the police, and having said police take a glimpse at the content of my notebook. For better or worse, the depraved side of my writing comes out whenever I make a stop at the playground. And that, my friends, really does scare me.
I actually started another one on that 7/6 furlough day while at the playground, thinking that perhaps the lack of children there would somehow be beneficial and break that rotten mojo of mine. No dice, as about twenty minutes after I got there, the kiddies invaded the playground and I took my leave of absence. Funny thing is, I don't remember what story I started on that particular day, but I'm pretty sure I finished it later in the week.
So my question to all of you is this: Did you experience something somewhere that was so negative that whenever you tried to revisit the scene of the crime that it still seriously impacted you and your writing until you got away from it?