In defense of the Angst-Slut

The other day rads and I were yapping on the phone and on chat, and had this conversation on the perils of being creative online.

Now, rads writes a lot of fiction, and has a dedicated blog for the craft. I don’t think either of us fancies ourselves as some sort of undiscovered genius, but we have a few stories that we want to tell.

Increasingly though, I’ve found myself hesitating a bit when it comes to writing the fiction fragments. Unfortunately, I specialize in angst. Which means a lot of readers feel compelled to determine if the fiction is “real”. rads appears to have the same predicament.

Fiction has the power to create empathy. Without that sense of empathy you don’t laugh, weep or shudder with it. But if the empathy is directed more towards the author rather than the character, it can be a bit problematic.

Sure, fiction has elements of truth in it. It’s sometimes borrowed from real life, but it’s more of the observed life than the autobiographical one. Some of us perceive angst more easily than others. It might have to do with being sensitive, or maybe we are just angst-sluts. But what it doesn’t mean is that we are mopey, sad and venting out our personal lives in the form of fiction. Like everyone else, the angst-sluts are happy and sad at various points during the day.

22 Comments

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22 Responses to In defense of the Angst-Slut

  1. Thank you for speaking up for the angst-slut! :D

    You couldn’t have worded it better and am so happy that someone understands. My life is full and more, just coz I mope around, doesn’t mean I am dying. Am doing very well thank you v much! :-)

  2. tgfi

    Angst-slut. Heh. :) I like that term..

    nicely written post.

  3. I guess it also holds for those who write humorous pieces. Doesn’t quite mean they are cool fun-loving people in real life.

  4. Nice! well written….
    Non-fiction too though, has the power to create empathy.

    @ Maxdavinci: I disagree!!

  5. I agree with Max says. Mebbe you should be Rads’ spokesperson ;)

  6. The Angst-Slut movement is spreading across blogs now. First it was Rads now here too. Just my thoughts, blog writers do not need to explain as long as they think, they could convey what they meant.

    But as I think about it, it looks to be similar to famous personalities who become popular and then the public (read tabloids) scan every action, analyze and wax eloquence of them however incorrect it may be and then you have blogs like this that clarifies their position.

    How easily we fall into explaining things that doesnt need to be!

  7. I know quite a few ppl who are quite sedate and boring but write brilliantly funny posts. It’s not a generalization, but just an observation, just like the newly coined ‘angst-sluts’!

  8. I don’t think anyone is sedate or angsty or funny all the time. Some people have wilder mood swings, while others manage it so well that it just appears as being “not a morning person”, or “not a crowd person” etc.

    The thing is, I think writing isn’t just catharsis. It’s also expression. And people’s ability to express something in writing, is often different from what they might actually feel.

    Like me. In real life, people know me to be a rather funny person. A colleague describes me as Prozac. :) On my blog, I may not really come across as that at all!

  9. Liked that term Angst Slut.

  10. A girl once told me that if I was as funny in real life as I am in my writing, she’d’ve married me. :P

  11. I can relate myself to this.
    People fail to realize that most of my funny posts are layered on really sad bitter reality.
    And I love it when people exclaim in disbelief,”Dont tell me you’re depressed! You just cant be depressed! You’re the joker here!”
    Angst slut! Nice!

  12. I’m an angst-slut. Totally. And I write, especially poems, on other’s experiences, about events that I’ve read about, fiction that moves me, movies that have influenced me. And very often, people mistake those experiences to be my own.

  13. tearsndreams

    Hope you won’t mind if I linked you.
    I have a few people drawing conclusions about my personal life based on my lame attempts at writing fiction. Like you said, the stories do draw inspiration from real life but not necessarily mine!

  14. Oh just write what you want to and don’t care what people think and whether they judge you by what you write. Although that’s easier said than done but once you start practicing that, it feels very liberating.

  15. Interesting point.

    I met a few ‘blog friends’ in India and at least one of them was very honest in admitting she was shocked to meet me, since I laugh so much and have ‘a warm, friendly face’. The blog(s) apparently portray me as a dry and purely analytical person (which I am without a doubt) but also humourless (bah!). About the ‘face’ she couldn’t possibly tell from the avatar anyway :-)

    Writing is but one side of us. The rest of us exists in other manifestations. Which is why no matter how much I like the internet, the real world isn’t going down in the popularity stakes anytime soon ;-)

  16. its easy to generalize based on whats written..i think its just like the opinions people make when they see you..not to be bothered with!

  17. Madras Chick

    I wouldn’t particularly attach the murky, depressing stories to the author or anyone. Just don’t want to be saddened thinking it’s happening in others’ lives as well.

    PLUS I’d always think that it’s only natural you write all that dark stuff, living in that gloomy weather (what with … like a total 2 months of sunshine a year?).. lol..

    I know this sounds silly, or may be I’m just naive..

    When you wrote those lovely “Quick love” compact fiction/poetry stuff, I was jealous thinking .. Wow..That’s one lucky girl, if not real, at least you made it look so real and exciting.

  18. ra

    let the angst keep flowing pliz, if you still feel like writing

  19. Great term: angst-slut.

    Consider the flattery of this. You write so well, it is engrossing and feels authentic to the reader. The reader begins to perceive a connection with a part of your imagination – not the whole you, who is much more complex than the words you write, but this part of you that is in contact with the human struggle.

    And yet, how very annoying to be stereotyped.

  20. Perhaps I am a writer with very little imagination, I mostly write autobiographical stuff, my novel is also 75% true story, and then I feel bad that I cant write everything, that so much of life is unprintable,….I guess when this feeling becomes stronger I will one day have to stop blogging and start the next novel.

  21. the process i follow while writing fiction (very rare; maybe once in 2 yrs) is (to put it in Digital Signal Processing terms) “sampling and interpolation”. I choose a few random events from real life. And then interpolate between them with a masala-filled spline. and I have my story.

    maybe this is the common process followed for fiction. because of which people assume that whenever you write an angsty pangsty story things are not going right with you etc. Do you follow this kind of a process too?

  22. well said. we are not what we write.