by Heath Lowrance
When I think of the novels that really moved me, shook me up, made me ponder them for a long time afterwards, the list is pretty diverse. But they all have ONE thing in common: when they first came out, they offended the shit out of a lot of people.
Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway. Lord of the Flies, William Golding, The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck.
Even more recent books, like Lunar Park, by Bret Easton Ellis, or Fight Club, by Chuck Palaniuk.
Let me ask you something. Do you think these writers thought, for even a second, about giving birth to the next massive best-seller, or trying to appeal to the widest audience possible? Do you think they felt limited, even in their own imaginations, by societal and moral constraints?
Did they, fuck.
If you’re a young writer, still trying to figure out what it is you’re trying to do by sitting down in front of a computer or legal pad or whatever and pouring out your heart and soul for all the world to see, I really hope you aren’t trying to create the next Harry Potter or Twilight. One: ain’t gonna happen. Two: why would you want to offer to the world anything less than your heart’s absolute truth?
Because THAT is your real obligation as a writer. Your heart’s truth.
Well, that and a damn good story.
If you’re thinking in terms of marketability and sales, your soul as a writer is already crushed, already dead. If money and worldly success mean that much to you, you’re in the wrong business anyway. Don’t clutter up the world with more sugar-coating or half-truths or watered-down humanity. Give us something real.