What do I write?

September 22, 2014 at 4:28 pm

I am currently writing a novel which is a reworking of a story I originally wrote in the nineties. Tentatively called How Far Forgive? it chronicles the story of a young woman who is the victim of a violent crime and has to find a way to forgive the perpetrators in order to move on with her life.

This novel awakens a lot of feelings in me, as I am a victim of violent crime myself. In 1991 I was working in a bookstore when a man came in with a knife and threatened me with it. I gave him the money in the till without hesitation.

While writing this story I have been forced to ask myself whether or not I have forgiven my perpetrator for what he did to me. The honest truth is I don’t know. It was a long time ago and I don’t usually think about it. When I do, I usually shudder a little but quickly compartmentalise my feelings. I’d like to think I’ve forgiven him but how can I tell unless he is standing in front of me, asking for forgiveness? What if he was standing in front of me saying he was glad he did what he did? Could I forgive him then?

Here is my dilemma: can I write about a girl who learns to forgive when I’m not even sure I’ve done it myself? Is that hypocritical? Admittedly, the story also chronicles the journey of someone who doesn’t forgive (although his story is not the main focus) but I hope I will never travel the road he goes down.

What about you? Are you a writer? How do you handle it when you’re tackling a subject and you have a moral dilemma like this? Do you feel a responsibility to live up to what you are presenting in your story?

Are you a reader? Would you think it hypocritical if you read a book and learned that the author could not live up to what she preached? Leave a comment in the section at the bottom of the page and let me know your thoughts.

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