Do I have your attention now?
Today I'm continuing my Lily theme, just because I can't get it off my mind.
When I was in high school, I remember answering a poll concerning "foul language" in literature--basically, for or against it? I voted for it, of course, even though I still lived under my parents' roof and hadn't had the chance to fully develop my swear vocabulary. I mean, what would "Damn Yankees" be without the Damn?
So, how about the other heavy topics?
Personally, pretty much nothing content-wise will make me put aside a book; at least, I've read nothing yet, and I've read a lot. I mean, I don't watch overly-graphic horror movies, mostly because I'm a big fat chicken and am home alone too often, but reading violence? Sure. Writing it? Even better.
Sex? Love it. Writing sex? Just read my mss.
Language? Hells yeah (I toned my initial answer down.)
When I started writing Lily, I had no intention to be exploring any sort of heavy topics, but they grew naturally from the narrative, and now everywhere I turn, there's something big to be dealt with.
Some themes from Lily:
If I were to read this as someone else's list, would I immediately say, "Gee, I'd really like to read that book"? No. Not necessarily. Though I tend towards writing dark stuff, it's usually not my first choice in reading. By actively including all these themes and more, am I limiting my audience? Absolutely.
But I don't believe in censorship, especially self-censorship for the sake of a maybe-someday-potential-reader. Life is ugly, and so should be literature, which is most often a reflection of life. At least, I try to make mine that way.
Do I have experience with any of those? No (except for the sex, of course). Is it going to affect my ability to write those themes? I honestly don't know. I've already written a few of the bigger scenes concerning them and haven't gotten negative feedback on believability, so maybe not. Having experienced something first-hand certainly lends one authority on the subject, but then again everyone's experience of the same thing is different, so I don't think there's any one such way of writing about something.
Anyway, I'm starting to ramble, so let me end with this: Do you shy away from any "heavy topics" in your writing? If not, do you stick to topics that you know about first-hand, or do you give yourself the liberty to explore? And if you haven't done any yet, would you ever consider writing something that includes any heavy topics?