If he were real, the narrator of my flash Betrayed, would be wishing he’d been tried as leniently as Neil Wilson, last week awarded a suspended sentence for child sexual abuse because the thirteen-year-old victim was said to be predatory. No wonder I’ve been feeling uneasy about this little story, when we live in a society where misogyny runs so deep some readers could miss the point and side with my nasty protagonist.
We have to fight to make space for our writing if it’s to flourish. Sometimes this is on a practical level, shutting the door on friends and family to give us the time to write. Sometimes it’s a battle of the mind, freeing ourselves up from our inner critics telling us we can’t. Perhaps I’m afraid if I get too deep down and dirty, the muck just won’t wash off.
Yet a writer needs to have a life away from her fiction, and to fight for that just as hard. Isn’t it reasonable to want to avoid the one contaminating the other? Especially in the age of Twitter, when a writer is required to promote herself as well as her words.
I guess I’m in the process of working out how far I’m prepared to go.
What about you? Are there topics you shy away from for fear that people will misjudge your motives or do you have the courage to follow your ideas where angels fear to tread?