I’ve often read that if a writer is searching for a topic or subject to inspire her, she should reach toward her deepest fears, give voice to the unspeakable. I’ve thought about that a lot. And I wonder if it’s wise.
Most of my deepest fears revolve around my children. I am not a superstitious person, but even I feel that writing down the deepest fear I feel might in some way jinx me, make it come true. And even if that is impossible, this idea so frightens me, pushes me so close to deep, high-pitched irrationality that I won’t risk it. But you probably know what I’m getting at, especially if you are a parent. I’ve got some others, too… things that are just little flitting thoughts or passing feelings that I grasp on to that make me think, “what if I really felt that way all the time? What if I acted on it?”

I have no doubt that building a fiction around the ideas that most frighten me would probably draw out some passion, maybe charge the words with a bit more than my usual wattage. But would it be worth giving voice to the fear?

I also worry about the long term repercussions… “Mom, why did you write that? Was it about me?” There is always an element of truth in every fiction, isn’t there? Some spark of reality that sends the story unraveling in its own fanciful direction. Would it be right to do that to my children? To use them as fodder for fiction? Especially fiction that I fear would be dark and gritty?

What do you think? Have you written from fear? Can you name any well known works that might have come from such a place?