Monday, June 27, 2011

History, Reality, and Fiction

Recently, I posted an article on my blog titled "The disappearing pieces of my childhood." I posted it because of a lot of reasons: a news story on CNN, conversations with my young niece and nephews, and more.

After that post, I thought even more about how whether writing historical, contemporary, or paranormal "we" can capture snapshots of time and save them for the next generation.

In one of my books, I had a very specific idea of who the grandfather needed to be. And as he formed more and more in my head there were elements of his character that after I wrote him, I recognized them. They were pieces of my own grandfather. Any member of my family who reads that story will automatically recognize the hat and suspenders. That's a personal part of my life captured forever.

The same can be said for technology, pop culture, and history itself.

I think one of the most interesting uses of pop culture I've read was the use of Elvis Presley as a vampire! Loved it. I'm from Memphis, TN...why didn't I think of that?

When I decided that writing was a part of me that could not be denied, I wanted to tell "my" stories. I didn't realize that although they are told in "my" voice, they are all of "our" stories.

Every time one of us plots around a news story, writes a historical or contemporary, or writes about vampires trying to commit suicide in the sunlight of Italy we're introducing a reader somewhere to something. Food. Travel. History. Science.

I guess as long as there are writers, nothing will disappear.

For all of the writers out there, do you see yourselves as historians?


Mona Risk said...

Angela, I agree with you. We put a lot of ourselves in our stories. Two of my books, To Love A Hero and Rx in Russian are based on my trips and experience in Belarus that I was happy to share with my readers. The mothers in Rx for Trust and Rx in Russian are sketched after my Mom and mother-in-law.

Angela said...

Mona, it's a wonderful reason to travel :-)

Jill James said...

Angela, what a wonderful thought that we are giving little pieces of ourselves in our stories. Right now I'm working on a story with a feisty heroine, who is so my sister-in-law. Anyone who reads it will recognize her spunk.

Josie said...

Because of my historical writing, Angela, I've become a walking dictionary for anything Tudor.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Actually I'd not thought about it before, but you are right. We put our experiences mixed in with local and characters to give a bit of actual history. I have described life in one of our historic hotels as well. Thanks for the reminder.