So the characters in my book get up to some pretty harmful shit, self harm and vandalism and worse. The other night, I had a chilling thought: what if I give someone ideas?
What if there’s a kid out there that just needs the seed, the impulse, the implicit permission and then takes the ideas from the page and applies them to the real world?
There’s evidence for this idea already. About ten years ago I was invited to a fight club. A real one. Literally a group of dudes that met up in a basement, put on some thrash metal and just straight up fought each other. I didn’t go, don’t honestly know if the guy that invited me was serious. Truthfully the guy could have been just winding me up, or trying to lure me into something unspeakable in his basement. He seemed sincere, though, like it wasn’t something crazy he and his friends were getting up to, like it was simply a good way to pass a Saturday evening. When he wrote Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk touched on an idea that had lain dormant in the hearts of a generation of young men, and they acted on that idea, they took his fiction and made it real.
What a result. I can’t say for sure because I have never had the chance to ask, but I sincerely doubt that that was the plan, that it was Palahniuk’s intention to spark this action, this blurring of the lines between reality and fiction. Maybe it doesn’t matter; there were fight clubs all over the place whether he wanted it or not.
As a writer, you want to move people, to convey your ideas in a way that speaks to people, that impacts them somehow. As a human being, I’d be horrified if some kid took the ideas in my book as a good way to pass a Saturday evening.
Maybe Mr. Palahniuk is responsible for a few knocked out teeth, a few stitches and black eyes. Maybe someday when my book is in print, some kid will read it and think its a great idea to destroy beautiful things, to intentionally hurt himself.
And maybe that will be my fault.