Go Ahead! Shake Things Up!

Saturday, October 20, 2007
When I started my degree program, I took several introductory Psychology courses. Some of the best material I studied was in Social Psychology focusing on deviance. What’s fascinating is someone who’s considered a “deviant” is merely a person who doesn’t conform to the norms of their society. This means a person sporting a nose ring or the wrong colored shirt can be considered deviant just because they’re different from the rest of their culture.

A person is also considered to be deviant who may see a subject from a unique perspective and isn't afraid to talk about it. Galileo, Christopher Columbus and, even, Albert Einstein were ostracized for their beliefs and views. But not one of them was itimidated to speak their mind nor cared what people thought as their views needed to be discussed (and thank goodness such people were brave enough to do so!)

In the writing arena, subjects labeled as “taboo” are considered controversial, rather than deviant. But in either case, what’s considered controversial greatly depends on an individual’s perspective. For example, there are subjects which are considered to be controversial by the very nature of the emotions they emit, such as abortion or religion. Others are considered controversial because they are topics no one talks about but should, such as child abuse, mental illness or rape.

In my opinion, a little controversy—getting people talking and debating—isn’t such a bad thing. And as writers, we should be brave enough to tackle some of those subjects occasionally. Even I’ve dabbled on the deviant side of the writing tablet.

I wrote memoirs about life with my Mom. On the outside my mother was beautiful, intelligent and one of the most talented people I’ve ever known—an accomplished musician, artist, poet, singer…the list is endless. Inside my mother fought an unseen assailant that stole her sanity from us on a daily basis: bipolar. Now, I didn’t want my memoirs to be a “Mommie Dearest” book. I wanted to tell my story while still respecting the fact that my mother was still a person—a mother, a sister, a daughter and a friend to so many. And I did this while still bringing important subjects under the spotlight (child abuse and neglect, alcoholism, mental illness, and violence to women) requiring much needed acknowledgement and awareness. The way I see it, through awareness comes understanding and that’s what our gift of writing can accomplish.

So, don’t be afraid to lean to the controversial side of things. Some topics need to be explored and there are many readers out there who depend on our words to help draw out the discussion. Why not be brave enough to bring something out into the open for discussion? You never know—you may even help someone.

What subjects can you think of that need more attention? What topics can you put up on the platform and be brave enough to write about? I’d love to hear what you think, what your passionate about and what we should be writing about more often.

In the illustrious words of my writing mentor: “There’s nothing wrong with being a bit controversial once in awhile. It gets you noticed and it can make people think.”

Happy writing!



Sue said...

Chynna, your post reminds me of Anais Nin's quote: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.” In regard to writing, we grow or evolve the most when we go beyond our comfort zones.

I think if we explored the topics that give rise to debate, then we'd all learn something. I'll have to think about your question, and see if I can come up with an idea! Thanks, Chynna, for such an awesome post! ;-)

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top