As a writer, I absorb my surroundings. When I look at something, I look deeper and I search for words and meanings and comparisons. I watch. I take notes.
Ideas for stories come to me at the drop of a hat. Sentences form at any moment in my brain. Synonyms are listed off as I try to pick which is the proper word choice for the point I am making.
The world and those in it are what I draw my material from; my experiences, my friends, and, yes, my loved ones.
But that is not how every detail of every story is to be read. There is a creative process and a filtering of information that goes into each article, each essay, and each number on a list. I keep my eyes and ears open. I watch television. I listen to conversations around me. Any time I am writing about a topic, I am not merely dictating my life for the public. I am compiling those daily observations into an insightful recount for people to take comfort in.
Yes, there are times I take surveys and ask for quotes. Those are times when, of course, I am using my personal life for material. But that is not how all pieces are written. If you think I am calling you out behind the internet as I feverishly type at my desk, you’re wrong. Do not think I take your lines and scribble them to use against you later.
The characters of my stories are not so simply the people in my life.
As an artist in a first world country, I have a right to speak my truths. I have an obligation to say what others may not feel comfortable saying. I have a need to create these parallels for others to relate to. The world is a big scary place and if I can reach one person with an experience that I wrote about to make them feel less alone, it’s all worth it. If I can make one person laugh who is having a bad day, that will make my day.