On inclusivity —
The meme continues ...
28. Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there's nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.
I don't know if it speaks only to myself or to the culture (a culture?) at large that, when I first read the above question, I did so hearing a chorus of voices whose sections included the shrill, the self-righteous and the politically fashionable.
I suspect I've read one to many internet pile-ons, in which hordes of (mostly) anonymous do-gooders wielding moral self-assurance like iron bars descend upon a sexist or racist evil-doer with the joyous outrage of the eternal Mrs. Grundy to berate, ostracize and otherwise correct the transgressor.
(Yes, in most of the cases I've witnessed, said transgressor had engaged in morally questionable (at best) behaviour; the pile-on itself remains an ugly phenomenon at least similar to mob-justice.)
But the question itself as written is in fact perfectly innocuous. People who are disabled are a significant ingredient in the human soup and certainly ought to be represented in fiction.
I've never set out to write a Disabled Character — or even a cripple, as my ever-more crippled father is the first to put it.
The closest I have come to physical disabilities have been those caused by age or illness and these have almost always been terminal. In my defence: what does a healthy teenage boy know of a life lived in pain or without the use of limbs most of us (at least when young) take for granted?
So, not much, on the physical side of the question. The mental is another matter ...
If physical disabilities are under-represented in fiction (and that's a pretty big if, outside of action-oriented genre fiction), I suspect that mental disabilities might be over-represented, at least if "disability" is broadly defined.
How much easier it is to write dramatically about the neurotic, the drug-abusing and mentally ill than it is to do the same with the well-adjusted, the teetotallers and the certifiably sane — am I right?
Few of my chracters are happy and no small percentage of them are, or have had bouts with, episodes which at least could have seen them institutionalized.
If alcoholism or chronic alienation are disabilities, than any number of my characters are disabled.
But I can't say that I've consciously sought to examine such "issues", or that I have explored what some might term "true" disabilities — missing limbs, malfunctioning nervous systems or mental illnesses that cause the sufferer to hear voices when no one is speaking or to see visions that no one else perceives.25. Do any of your characters have pets? Tell us about them.
29. How often do you think about writing? Ever come across something IRL that reminds you of your story/characters?
30. Final question! Tag someone! And tell us what you like about that person as a writer and/or about one of his/her characters!
On a note entirely unrelated to this meme and only tangetially to writing at all, I find myself in possession of a some invite codes to Dreamwidth, if for any reason you're looking for an alternative to LJ, or if you're a non-blogger looking for a home. Reply here or send me an email through my info page and I'll hook you up.
And on a personal note, I am happy to report that I will be taking a trip out of town for the first time since I moved to Ottawa nearly a year ago. Raven and I will be leaving Friday morning for Sudbury, my mother and brothers for to see. Which means that, coincidentally, I'll be finishing this Terribly Popular Meme on the very day I leave town and, likely, go mostly offline for four or five days.
Play nice while I'm gone, okay?This entry was originally posted at http://ed-rex.dreamwidth.org/18926.html. Comment there using OpenID, or here as per normal.