What Writers Do In the Dark

The average person thinks of someone being “in the dark” as someone who is uninformed. That is not the case with writers, at least not in this conversation of mine at this time.

When I think of a writer “in the dark” I am talking about the secret place to which the writer goes: her or his mind.

That place where the writer goes in the dark is the safehouse to his or her imagination growing and conjuring. It can be dangerous to the average person, it can be frightening to a child, it can be suspect to the authorities, but it is a playground for the writer.

Young man reliving his childhood playing in a children’s playground riding on a colorful red spring seat with a happy smile in an urban park (he’s probably a writer.)

Consider some of the works we have read: Dennis Lehane’s “Shutter Island,” J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, Yann Martel’s “Life of Pi,” Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451,” Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” Ann Rice’s “Interview with the Vampire,” and so much more, I cannot even begin to touch the surface of the many wondrous, imagined, voluminous mountain of narrative and works of so many writers who tapped their “Dark Place” and wrote from that cave of secrecy the which to shock, outrage, touch and entertain us.

Many people think of writers as strange people because they stare, they are too quiet, or they have shifty eyes, laugh aloud by themselves, or just plain move funny (hence, the writer who is practicing a movement for a character) but you must remember: they have a whole carnival of action going on in their heads. Be kind and leave them alone. If he or she wishes, get them something to drink or eat; that writer may be working on a story about someone abandoned on a desert island,

or starving on an unknown planet somewhere…

And please remember, were it not for the writer, we all would sleep without nightmares, dream without plots, and not recognize the maniacs or serial killers that may be sitting next to us on the bus! Thank you writers: keep up the visit to that dark cave.

2 Replies to “What Writers Do In the Dark”

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