Philip Dick has been getting a lot of attention the last few years, and has been the inspiration for a few movies that I really like, Blade Runner being my favorite. I just recently finished reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which is the basis for the screenplay of Blade Runner, even though it is hardly recognizable. The book is dark, even darker than the movie. Take Blade Runner and make everyone dying of radiation poisoning and going slowly insane. Dick often asks questions about reality and our perception of it and then takes it one step further. There is an interesting quote in the book I just read, let me share it with you:
“You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go. It is the basic condition of life, to be required to violate your own identity. At some time, every creature which lives must do so. It is the ultimate shadow, the defeat of creation; this is the curse at work, the curse that feeds on all life. Everywhere in the universe.”
I think perhaps there is something to this. It’s not so much that we have to do wrong, but the pressure is always there or maybe the temptation. I’ve read on a few blogs lately about finding your blog voice too, and it all runs with the same theme. We all have choices, we can try to be something we aren’t but I think authenticity can be sensed. Personally, I try to do right and be myself and not try to be something I’m not. I try to teach that to my children as well.
Contrary-wise, as writer’s we are constantly being something we aren’t through our characters. We put little parts of ourselves in every character, and it gives us a chance to really explore parts of ourselves where we might make bad choices and do wrong. We get to make up stories and put our characters in situations where they have choices too,and we often put them in a position where they have no choice but to do bad things. Does that make us bad?
Writing in the right genre is part of being true to yourself also, and it’s more than writing what you know, but just as important to write what your have passion for. I know I’m not going to write the Great American Novel. I will be a niche writer, because that’s where my interests lie. I love Science Fiction and I also love the vampire genre, so for my first book I combined them together. It’s been done before, but not overdone I don’t think. Not that it would really matter to me. I’m bringing my own flavor to it.
Honesty and right-thinking also flavors our happiness to some degree. We may be doing a day job that we aren’t completely happy with, because our true passion is writing, at least for me it is, and I have a great day job. But it’s just not my passion. So maybe I am doing wrong everyday by staying in that job, but it pays well, and I have more than just myself to think of. I look forward to the day when I can write full-time, and I sure hope it makes me happy. I keep telling my kids to follow their dreams, but I didn’t find my real passion until I was well into a different career.