In the incubator of inspiration, I wrote some about the barriers in our minds created by limiting our imagination to a creative flow based only upon what we see. There are other barriers in place, those that exist due to what we know.
As an example, I am gender dysphoric. It wasn’t until I was 48 years old that I finally claimed my correct gender. That reclamation was not pleasant or pretty, and in fact it did a fair amount of damage to those around me, as well as to me. I may draw on snippets of it in the fiction I write, within a narrow range only. Why only a narrow range?
First, there is respect for the other people involved. I will never publicly write about them, they can speak for themselves if they wish. Second, there are elements of it all where the wounds are scarred over some, yet remain tender to a mental touch. Fourteen months ago I tried writing a story drawing on a somewhat parallel course to my childhood. Every turn of my pen felt as if it was being drawn upon by an increasing force of gravity; the more I wrote, the heavier the resistance, until I finally threw up my hands and said ‘no way am I writing this’. I tore up twenty or thirty pages, I am unsure as to how many now, but enough to feel the twin pull of regret over discarded work with that counterforce that finally stopped me. I was conflicted, with only one remaining option: start a new story and back away from the close in to my life track, go after something else less personal.
That alternative course produced a rough draft novel that will not see light of day here for another two years, yet of which I am quite enthusiastic and hopeful. Cassie’s Shot started out about an incident involving EMTs treating a transwoman. It evolved into a story about her non-transgendered partner. I managed to write a transgender element by ensconcing it within protective fabric as a sub story arc of the larger story. I found it was okay to get within range of me, but not so close that the writing created an escalating degree of anxiety. I am foolish enough to try again at some point.