As a writer, I think it’s natural that I’m often on the edge of things, standing slightly back, looking in.
I’ve done it all my life. I wasn’t part of the ‘in-crowd’ at school and even if I was invited to a party, there was always a part of me that stood back (usually making snarky comments in my head). I’ve always been hyper-aware of how I appear to others, perhaps because I’m so aware of how others appear to me.
I like to think that’s the writer in me.
Recently I’ve been noticing a common theme in writers’ interviews – in almost every one I’ve read in the last few weeks, the writer admits to being bullied at school. And here’s my confession – you guessed it - I was a victim of bullying too (sometimes physical, sometimes verbal – I once cried so hard at the prospect of going to school and seeing a particular set of individuals that I threw up) and I’d love to know how many other writers were victims. Bullies target people who are slightly … other; so does being a writer on the inside put you on the edge of things outside and make you a target?
Perhaps in order to write, especially edgy fiction, you need to have experienced being on the edge of things yourself. Being an outsider – perhaps being bullied.
And of course being bullied, if it doesn’t destroy you, can sometimes make you strong, able to cope with rejection, criticism, even vilification – come to think of it- the perfect set up for dealing with the publishing world.
Which raises the question … am I writer because I was so often an outsider, or was I an outsider, because I was always a writer?
One of the characters in Angel's Fury is terribly bullied, another grew past it. It was hard putting myself in the position of the bully, too easy to put myself in the position of the bullied ...
And I'd really like to know, fellow Edgars – were you bullied? Did you ever feel like an outsider? And if you were, do you think it influenced your writing?