Can there be a more divisive issue in contemporary discourse than that of The Environment?
Well, maybe gender equality. But aside from that, nothing’s more in the public mind than The Environment, except race—
Two things, gender equality and race, fine, just two, but otherwise it’s The Environment, right? Right after gender or racial inequality, for sure, plus the uneven distribution of wealth–
Three things. Sex, race, and greedy one-percenters.
Religion? Sexual orientation?
Legalised marijuana? Gun control? Proper use of punctuation?
Are you quite finished?
Stem cell research.
…our fourth Question of the Day:
Environmental issues can be controversial. Are there any subjects you WOULDN’T touch on with your writing?
Daniel Ausema: They shouldn’t be controversial… but leaving that aside, there are subjects I’d be hesitant to approach, things where my voice and experience probably aren’t needed, and what we need is to listen to others who have gone through those experiences themselves. I wouldn’t rule anything out, but I’d want to be careful with how I address such things.
Rebecca Schwarz: I believe it is my job as a writer to be as fearless as I can possibly be. I don’t want my writing to be polemic, but I hope to always be able to look honestly and deeply at any issue no matter how painful, frightening, or controversial. Writing is often uncomfortable and sometimes a little scary.
Christina Klarenbeek: There are many subjects I haven’t touched on, many more than I don’t feel qualified to meaningfully tackle, but none that I view as off limits.
Kurt Hunt: I won’t write about personal issues that negatively affect the people close to me. Also, sometimes I have a story that gets so dark that I don’t move forward with it. That’s not because I think the topic is too controversial, but because I don’t want to transfer that negativity to a reader without either an extremely strong justification or a way of delivering it that it’s contextualized in a more positive way.
Matthew Hughes: There are plenty I wouldn’t be interested in writing about, but no taboos come to mind.
Andrew Leon Hudson: There are things I would never plan to write about in the same way that there are people I’d never choose to talk to—but I don’t think there are any people I’d travel back in time to murder, either, even the worst of them. I’ve “enjoyed” the discomfort of having stories inflict on me things I would not have asked them too, so I wouldn’t rule anything out if my writing coiled in such a direction.
Igor Ljubuncic: Of course not. Controversy is the bread and butter upon which you sprinkle delight and gobble most ravenously.
Victor Espinosa: I don’t think so. The sky’s the limit!
P. J. Richards: Context is everything, and appropriate empathy or condemnation can make a subject acceptable, but I personally wouldn’t want to write about any form of cruelty that angered or upset me so much I couldn’t be objective.
Jonathan Laidlow: Writers always talk about the weird synchronicities between their work and the real world, so here’s mine: there’s a moment in Inundated where my protagonist is boating through a drowned city and passes the corpse of a child. I wrote this weeks before images of the drowned Syrian child in Europe’s refugee crisis shocked the world. I’ve been trying to come up with something coherent to say about this very upsetting coincidence, but there’s nothing.
Stephen Palmer: There are subjects I wouldn’t touch because they don’t impinge on my life in any way, so I’d have no confidence in my ability to do justice to them, even if they had any meaning. But, generally, I think authors should tread where it is difficult to go.
A fearless bunch—and that’s our last QotD for this week. We’ll return with four more after the weekend, but in the meantime why not bravely check the progress of our Kickstarter campaign and maybe pick yourself up some really good stories on the cheap? Now I’m going to go and find…