This is a question that keeps popping up in my mind. In UpMeDownMe I have a lot of drama surrounding mental illness and packed into one year. The sad thing about this is that it is based on what I’ve gone through in a year, toned down even. Molly Parker ends with someone dying. Both revolve around very broken individuals.
So I wonder, am I too dramatic? Do I always lean toward the extremes?
There’s a reason why. In normal everyday life a person is not really tested. No one knows the limits that the individual has and where they break or where they power through. In UpMeDownMe, the narrator confronts a gruesome suicidal situation and handles it as though it was everyday life. Most of his life is rather non-frightening except for his own suicide attempts. His limits are always tested and he passes.
In Molly Parker, she gets pushed to the extremes of sexual experimentation down to flesh-hook suspension and ultimately autoerotic asphyxiation that leads to death. She finds her limits and runs. She loses herself and in time finds herself again. But I push her to her limits and break her wide open by showing what’s next in her hedonism.
I like breaking people in the end. Breaking people shows their true colors, what they do next shows their growth and what they’ll truly become.
It’s part of my own philosophy of life. The life never tested is one that mingles in mediocrity. Maybe it’s because I’m tested yearly. Maybe it’s because I can be having a good day one day and then spend the next week in hell. But for whatever the reason, I think that pushing normal people to their breaking point is the way to see who they are. Otherwise, they’re just going about their day. In the end, I don’t want to read about someone eating a sandwich.