I’m connected to a lot of people on Facebook. Not a lot compared to people spend a bunch of time in social media, but for me, a lot.
I could wax eloquent about the variety of perspectives they represent, but that’s not the issue. The issue is this: my family.
I have a huge extended family. They are smart, fun, funny, interesting, kind, educated… and, for the most part, quite conservative. Socially, politically, spiritually.
Me, not so much.
But I have a hard time with this conflict. I don’t want to incur their wrath, or disapproval, or disgust. In short, I don’t want them to think badly of them. That’s pretty typical, right? I mean, there aren’t a whole lot of people that want people to think badly of them. Oh, they exist, but I’m not way off the bell curve on this one.
The problem, of course, is that I’m a queer pagan with complex PTSD trying to write a raw, fierce, honest novel about the things that matter to me, about the way I see the world. I’ve spent years trying to rip out the filters that my super-religious upbringing installed on my brain.
The problem is that the world that most of my extended family inhabits is the world that caused me my deepest pains.
The problem is that if I flinch from telling the truth in front of my family, I can’t tell the truth that might connect meaningfully with someone else. Someone still struggling with the dark mysticism of fundamentalism.
The problem is that while I need to tell my truth, I also need to stay open. Open to the possibility that a member of my extended family might be willing and able to engage with what I’m saying in a useful way. Open the possibility of dialogue, instead of putting my fingers in my ears and saying, “This is my story and I’m not listening to what anyone else says la-la-la-la-la.”
Having said all of that, I’m just not willing to push out my updates to Facebook. I don’t wanna, not gonna, you can’t make me. I have already used most of George Carlin’s seven dirty words in various drafts of the book and will mostly likely burn through the rest before getting too much further into the book. There may well be sex; there will certainly be ambiguity about gender identity. Angels will not be Biblical. There will be magic. The divine appointment of humans as the peak of creation will not get much support.
And as much as I tremble at the disapproval and disregard of people in my day-to-day life (all people, not just my relatives), there’s one place where I have successfully trained myself to be raw and fierce, and that is in my writing.
So. I’ve created a Facebook page instead of pushing to my timeline where my naked posts will be visible to all.
If you want to read polite, sanitized fiction, that’s quite all right with me; please don’t read my book.
If you prefer polite, sanitized fiction, but are drawn to read this book for some reason, then I welcome your honest, kind-hearted feedback.
If you like raw, weird shit, then please hold my feet to the fire and let me know when I veer towards false politeness. (Note I said “false” — I’m all in favor of manners in their proper place. Just not in fiction.) Tell me when something doesn’t ring true, when it feels like I’m holding back, when I start to touch the raw beating heart and then pull back.
If you like raw, weird shit, then let’s do this thing.