Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Monster: Eminem and Me

By Natasha Sinel

And you think I’m crazy, yeah, you think I’m crazy, but I like Eminem. Over the years, whether jogging, driving, or sitting, he makes me feel something. He makes me take notice. His music is very specific—it’s not everyone’s taste. But isn’t that what art is? Subjective? Art is one way to prove that humans are individual. What I’m really saying here is that I like him. I know you may not. Let’s agree to disagree and move on.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to talk about his song “The Monster,” a song of brilliant poetry, beautiful melody, and gorgeous vocals performed by Rihanna.

When I hear this song, I think about creativity, writing, making art. In order to be a writer of fiction, one who creates three-dimensional characters who feel real to a reader, you have to dig deep. You have to muck around inside your head, your heart, your soul to create all of the love, joy, fear, damage, loathing, sadness that is a person. In order to do that well, I think being a bit crazy is a pre-requisite. Not insane, necessarily, just crazy enough to create a world. And you have to accept that, to make peace with your own brand of crazy.

I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed.
Get along with the voices inside of my head.




Another thing about writing, especially writing for a young adult audience is this: a book can change lives. A young person can read a book that speaks to them in a special way and makes them feel understood, less alone. A book can inspire someone to ask for help. As a writer, that’s not your goal. You don’t set out to do that. You’re just writing a story that came from somewhere inside you. You’re making a story and you’re making it in the best way you can. And if it reaches someone in a positive way, then that is amazing.

I ain’t here to save the…children*
But if one kid out of a hundred million
Who are going through a struggle feels it and then relates that’s great

People ask me a lot: so, where do you get your ideas? Everywhere, anywhere, I don’t know. A conversation, a news article, a girl on the street can spark something that makes me scribble down a sentence or two that could be a book someday. Maybe, or maybe not.

So I keep conjuring, sometimes I wonder where these thoughts spawn from
(Yeah, pondering’ll do you wonders.
No wonder you’re losing your mind the way it wanders.)

A writer takes a blank page and the alphabet and makes stories—things that have the ability to take a reader on a journey, to learn something new, to see themselves, to understand. Something from nothing.

In the draft, turn nothing into something, still can make that
Straw into gold chump, I will spin Rumpelstiltskin in a haystack

Writing is amazing—it makes me feel alive, passionate, creative. Writing is terrifying—it fills me with fear, dread, self-loathing. Putting my work out there is the same—phenomenal and horrible—I’m superwoman, I’m vulnerable. And, yeah, I might be crazy, but I love what I do.

Maybe I need a straightjacket, face facts
I am nuts for real, but I’m okay with that

* The missing word here is "f*ing," but I decided to leave it out for the point I'm making




Natasha Sinel writes YA fiction from her home on a dirt road in Northern Westchester, NY. She drives her kids around all afternoon, but in her head, she's still in high school, and hopes that no one near her can read minds. Her debut YA novel THE FIX released from Sky Pony Press/Skyhorse Publishing September 1, 2015.


2 comments:

  1. Excellent post. One of the best things about contemporary YA fiction is the willingness so many authors have to tackle issues that affect kids, kids who often believe that nobody can understand the craziness in their lives. When they pick up a book and read about a character who is experiencing exactly the same thing they're dealing with, that's sometimes enough to keep them alive.

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    1. Totally agree. There's nothing more powerful than seeing yourself in the pages of a book.

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