So my family has had a pretty interesting life shall we say and I could definitely write a damn good book on my family.I’d tell the world how after one week of knowing each other my mother got engaged to her first husband, how by the time she was on husband number 3 he came out as gay. How I found out on Christmas eve my Dad’s partner cheated on him. About the time I went to work one day dressed as a dalmatian for world book day to find out I was the only one who bothered to dress up and those few insights are nothing compared to what I could tell.
I have tried to write about my life. I wrote a novel about my future and it wasn’t the most cheerful of tales. When I stopped writing this novel my mental health prevented me from seeing any future for me at all. Writing wise, I wanted to write about my life and I knew that a book about my family wouldn’t be bad and expected it would help me with my own depression but calling up all of these memories only made writing the novel a chore and me unhappy. That had come across in the plot and the tone of the novel no matter how hard I tried to overcome it. It took weeks to finish the first two scenes because of how miserable the story made me and how my life had turned out in the book. Everything I wrote about and the bad/ unsteady relationships I had broken between me and other members of my family became real when I had made it up or blown it out of proportion for the sake of writing.
So I had proved myself wrong; you know a novel’s bad when the author can barely stand to write it. Part of me wanted to keep going. I knew I needed to remember why I took to reading in the first place though; escapism.
I could have put us in a fantasy world or written from one of my family members perspective but both seemed impossible! Just because they’re family and I was raised by them doesn’t mean I understand any of them. I hated the idea, putting them into a world I’d work so hard in creating just made me mad. I hated the idea. I hated they were there even when I was imagining them (and me) there. I had reverted back to being a moody teenager where all I wanted to do was tell them to leave me alone. It didn’t just make writing bad, it made living with them and seeing them 10x worse.
I needed to escape me and I needed to escape my family. I love them to bits, but I wouldn’t write a book for them or on them.I need to escape to find adventure and experience hope, fear, love et al. You learn a lot from books, I learned that I really do need time away from them and time away from my reality. I know about my life already but I’m still learning new things about the world, my and our place in it and what being human entails. The world is much bigger that me and our home, luckily I have reading to make me realise that.
My families story ( I had changed our names and called the novel’The adventures of Sophie Knight’) did teach me why I liked books and writing in the first place, writing may not be lonely but everything in the past and everyone I love can still take a step back when I am and that is why I’ll never write about family again.