Last night I saw My Chemical Romance. Smallish venue, really fun show and even the opener was great. I spent the ride home considering (and monopolizing the conversation--sorry!) how punk rock informs and influences my writing, subjects notwithstanding.

So many of my favorite bands tackle the tough issues with fearless humor and grace. While the medium is certainly no easier than writing--the elemental combinations of an entire band baffle me; how do they do that??--music can certainly make a tough message more palatable.

But also it's an image thing: someone sees a tattooed, pierced, DIB punk rocker and suspects the lyrics will reflect an, er, dissatisfaction with the status quo. They are, simply, themselves: implying their dissatisfaction and discomfort with the world at large by every facet of who they are, from his dyed hair to her black painted toenails and every part in between. Applying that cohesive image theory to my life, my blog, and my writings, I realized I, too, am driven to be myself, even to my own detriment.

Some of that drive comes from the disease of milquetoast culture and its accompanying symptom: pandering literature. Books just aren't doing enough to make us think: case in point: THE ROAD. Great book, fun little read, but unoriginal in premise and theme, at least to those of us who read spec fic. It did not make me think because it did not show me anything I haven't seen or thought of before. As much as I liked the book, I find it a shame that THE ROAD might be some one's first and last venture into futuristic writing and the world(s) to come.

I know sometimes SSatS posts are shocking (or boring--like this navel gazing), but I hope in the end that I am fearless here. I strive to be as fearless with my fiction: stretching plot, theme, characterization, and style as punk rockers do with their music. What causes us fear and discomfort should be thrust into the light for close examination. I want to lure readers in and make them squirm, not only in fear of what might happen, but what might not. In short, I want my themes to make readers do their half of the work. If they disagree with me, or disapprove, so much the better. Diversity should be the inroad to thought.

So, punk rock inspires me to be fearless with my art. Now I want to know: what is the single greatest thing that informs your writing and what effect does it have?

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