Sunday, September 7, 2014

Should Writers of Disturbing Works be Worried About this Story?

Should writers of disturbing works of fiction be concerned about this story regarding a Maryland teacher and writer who was admitted to a mental health facility?
Md. Teacher Who Wrote School Shooting Book Speaks Out From Mental Institution 

Now, the headline makes it sound as if the teacher was admitted to the mental health facility simply for writing a fiction book about a school shooting. However, the article mentions something about a four-page letter with suicidal overtones and law enforcement receiving information about an inappropriate relationship with a student. There may be more to the story than we are being told, and this teacher might not have been admitted to the mental health facility simply for writing a disturbing novel.

Even so, it is a scary thought to think such a thing could happen. It's frightening to think a teacher could be admitted to a mental health facility for writing fiction others deem as inappropriate. Heck, I've written some pretty dark and disturbing poems and short stories. I guess it's a good thing I never did go into teaching as a career (though I did home educate my daughter through most of grade school and all of middle school and high school, up until she attended college full-time). 



Back when I was in college in the early 90s, I had considered getting a teaching degree. I was in the teacher education program, and actually took one education course. However, I switched my major to biology when the school was going to send me to a student teaching position almost 30 miles from where I resided at the time. I had decided I didn't want to be a teacher that badly. It was probably the right decision. I don't think I have the right personality for it anyway.

I've written some rather dark poetry, some if it drawn from my own personal experiences and emotions. I've written a few dark stories, too, but my poetry can be even more disturbing and personal at times. Perhaps my most personal (though creative, not confessional) is this:

Visages of Betrayal and Madness

Father's harshly stern face peers
From images of days past,
Years full of false promises
And dashed hopes of innocence.
Constant insults remembered
Echo in unquiet head.
Gouging ballpoint scratches out
Dreadfully despised features,
But fails to eradicate
That ever maddening pain.

Mother's embittered face frowns
Amidst expressionless hordes,
Aspect of disappointment
Glimpsed within uncaring crowds.
Search her out to ask her "why?",
But no answers from the dead.
Hatred rekindled burns bright;
Pounding fists beat angry scowl
Well beyond recognition
Wherever it may be seen.

Lover's hardening face turns
From desperate pleading gaze.
Judgmental eyes reveal truth;
Passion becomes resentment.
Remainders of tenderness
Destroyed in treacherous storm
Leave battered heart a bleak wreck.
Hell's monstrous maw swallows all
Once strangling hands tightly grasp
Betrayer's beautiful throat.

Stranger's haggard face looks back
From blemished and broken glass.
Mirror reflects ingrained flaws,
Exposing imperfect soul.
Tortured brow and vacant stare
Speak of shattered illusions;
A dismal life torn to shreds.
Fingers dig at bleeding flesh
Until tattered checks stripped bare
Form morbidly endless smile.

(Originally published in The Monsters Next Door, Issue Eight, September 2009.)

Copyright © 2009 Richard H. Fay 
Creative works are not necessarily confessional works. If I write about a disturbed individual who kills his lover and attacks anyone who reminds him of his mother, that does not mean I'm going to kill my wife and attacks all short, skinny, grey-haired old hags with hawk noses! If I write about a murdering suicidal artist, like I did in "My Final Masterpiece" that does not mean I wish to become a murdering suicidal artist!

My Final Masterpiece
Naked,
bound together
by rusty razor wire,
our bloodied bodies cry passion
and death.

(Originally published in Niteblade, December 2008.)
Copyright © 2008 Richard H. Fay
My narrators are imaginary personae, not me. I've even written verse from the perspective of inhuman creatures, and I am not an inhuman creature. I am all too human.


Serpent of Storms

Summoned to face nature's untamed rage,
Drawn toward a savage drumbeat roll,
My roars mingle with the drowning din
Of the tempest's malevolent voice
While hunger gnaws an empty belly
Craving thoughts, hopes, dreams, memories.

My black coils swirl in the swollen surge
Of a furious stream in full spate.
Rising well above that churning swell,
Hoping to spy sign of mortal prey,
My bulging orbs scan the muddy banks
Searching for nourishing consciousness.

Stormy sparks flare in my feral eyes
As I spot a lone wandering wretch,
A soul lost in tempestuous murk.
Eager fangs sink into flesh and bone
As I rip the man's brain from his skull,
Leaving a headless corpse in my wake.

Sated by this gruesome feast,
I return to my watery den.
Dimly glimmering pale spectral green
In the lethally raging darkness,
I slide back down into silty muck
As the fell storm begins to subside.

(Originally published in The Monsters Next Door , Issue 6, March 2009.)

Copyright © 2009 Richard H. Fay

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