For Better or for Worse: I Am a “Dark” Writer

dark writer

For better or for worse, I am a dark writer.

It isn’t something I wanted to be as I grew up…it is more something that had to be done to give my inner grief a voice so that the pain and suffering did not overwhelm me. The events of my life have consumed me like maggots feasting on the carcass of a dead child. Have you ever wondered why the best of Irish writers are so dark and depressing? It is because they were flayed by mental anguish  They were compelled by lives lived in abject poverty, disease and general disrepair and despair. Bram Stoker, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Frank McCourt, …all suffered from severe moral disintegration, from morbid ideations brought about by the unrelenting ugliness that this so called “good life” thrust upon them.

The French poéts maudits; François Villon, Baudelaire and Rimbaud? These were simple men forced to live their lives outside or against society, awash in the abuse of drugs and alcohol, insanity, crime, and violence. They all died pitiful, painful deaths. Or how about the Americans? Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Bukowski…each caught up in what life does best…grinding their souls to dust in the absence of any lasting hope until the merciful fist of death grabbed each by the ankle and pulled them under.

You may think I’m just cynical and indulgent…but I tell you, for every ray of sunshine you can conjure, I can show you ten bolts of lightning that rip and destroy. I am glad others have happiness….but I myself was pushed through this veil of insidious despair without my consent, and I’ve learned to navigate life in the absence of hope. And yes, I find some comfort there. It’s what I know.

People are always saying, “try and look on the bright side,” and to them I say, “ Look around you, for fuck’s sake!” There is an ocean of pain, agony, and suffering washing over the majority of the earth’s population…and you think platitudes and sweet rejoinders make a difference when the crows peck the eyes from a dead child who has starved in the Sudan? Or when 20 beautiful innocent children in Sandy Hook have their precious lives snuffed out, or when entire populations are being systematically wiped off the face of the earth for political expediency? Get real. Take off your rose-colored specs and take a deep look around you! Evil flourishes upon a people’s unwillingness to see. They are blinded by their blazing sunshine and forced optimism.

Yes, we live in the same world, but I see the shadows where you see the light. I don’t write this kind of crap because I have something to say…I write it because something which must be said has me to write it. My apologies for the rant…but I get so ill in my gut when people say, “there, there…the world is a beautiful place. Just try harder to be happy.”

The world is obscene and delusional. And it hurts.

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4 thoughts on “For Better or for Worse: I Am a “Dark” Writer

  1. Sometimes, I am also consumed by the tragedies of life. Gradually, I’ve realized that there’s so little we can do to combat evil, that maybe the best thing we can do is live our own lives to the fullest, whatever that might mean. Being happy is no small feat, so chin up, Dennis!

    • Rebecca, my dear new friend:
      Okay…so now you’ve seen that my writing isn’t the stuff of sunshines and rainbows. I hope I don’t scare you off…I really enjoy our exchanges. You are such an intelligent and talented writer. However, I don’t believe you believe what you wrote, ” I’ve realized that there’s so little we can do to combat evil,”…that just isn’t true, my friend. To say you have no power to combat evil is to relieve yourself of responsibility.
      You don’t impress me as someone who shirks responsibility. You have the gift to write…so there alone you have more power than you give yourself credit for. I don’t write to bum people out. I write to wake people up. The way I right is, admittedly shocking…but that’s my power. It’s all I have, And I’ve lived long enough to realize there is a thousand fold more acts of evil in this world than there is goodness.
      As I said in my article, 5/8ths of the world’s population is intimately familiar on a daily basis with the face of evil. It consumes them in violence, human rights abuses, starvation, poverty, disease. If you can do one thing – ONE THING – for one person that alleviates that pain, that brings them a sense of hope, then you are not powerless against evil.
      I never said I could do it all, or that anyone can do it all. But do something, every day, to replace evil with compassion and hope. That’s why I write. Save some of your talent…your gift..to combat evil. Nobody sees unless their eyes are opened. Nobody hears unless we use our voice (our writing) to open their ears.Willful neglect is, in my opinion, the greatest evil of all. Think of the holocaust and the millions of peaceful, loving German citizens who did nothing to stop it.
      Well, that’s not true. Some did. I think you and I can be that someone who did. That’s all I am trying to do with what I write. I’m not as morbid as you think. But true love is not just a feeling. True love is action.
      Forgive me for rambling. It’s important to me that you don’t misunderstand who I am.

      • Oh don’t worry, there’s no scaring me off! I’ve seen pretty dark things in my (relatively short) life and I’ve also written pretty dark things too. But I DO believe what I wrote, that there’s so little we can do. I didn’t say there was nothing we could do, just little. And for a long time, I felt powerless to make the kind of change I wanted to make. However, like you said, I’ve realized that to touch the life of one person is nothing to laugh at. That’s also why I write — so that someone out there might read it and feel something in their hearts.

        Well, I’m glad we’re on the same page! When I read your post, I thought you meant that you had no hope for this depraved world. But if you meant what you said in your comment — that you write to alleviate pain — then you do have hope. 🙂

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