I write quite a lot of non-fiction. Stuff that’s based on people I meet, places I visit, personal experiences and opinions, and such. So often, I also use my own life incidents to fuel my fiction pieces.
After all, it’s easy to write a story calling upon your own emotions. There’s even a word for it in literature: ethos.
Not only do such pieces flow easily, but they’re also genuine and factual. They need minimal research—just a Wikipedia entry to cross-verify dates or an opinion blog to confirm that you’re indeed talking about what you think you’re talking about.
Except, there’s a problem with using too much ethos.
It’s a strange thought, but it hit me when I was in the bus one day. I found myself thinking about a topic to write about and realised I’ve written about almost everything that I ever thought mattered in my life. About moving to Australia, being an insecure teenager, exams and stress, growing up in India, and even about my absolute disregard for the useless education system I had the misfortune to follow.
I’ve written about my family’s challenges as well—about all the stories I grew up listening to when my mother didn’t know how else shut me up.
Now, it’s as if extracted so much from myself and incorporated into my writing that I’m short of life experiences to write about. It’s ironic too, because I still have a lot of time (hopefully!) to accumulate memories, thoughts, and opinions. There’s still so much of the world that I haven’t seen, and I want to. There’s so much left for me to do, and yet I can’t write about any of those until after I’ve done them all.
That’s the problem with using reality as a reference. You can also run out of reality.
Good challenge for imagination, though.
Image credit: Markus Spike on Unsplash.