I'm a member of the Practice workshop of the Internet Writer's Workshop, an excellent place to improve your writing, and have a little fun turning out short exercises written to order.
The topic to write on this week was a 400-word story in which the conflict revolves around graffiti, an interesting topic. The stories trickled in, as they always do, and I read each one with interest. Then I noted a definite trend.
Almost every story had an underlying thread of violence. Murder, abuse, suicide, rape. And I wondered why.
I've seen graffiti that was beautiful. I've stopped to smile at graffiti that was humorous. And yes, there were some that depicted violence, racial slurs and hate. But in a mix of stories about this topic, I expected a like mixture of themes. Why wasn't this so?
Perhaps the violent graffiti had more of an impact and remained in the memories of the writers longer. Perhaps, because a lot of the time, spray painting walls, cars, and fences is illegal, so the resulting stories referenced illegal and violent activity.
Whatever the reason, I found the trend a bit unsettling. Is violence taking the place of beauty and humor in our world? If so, we have lost a great deal of what makes life a pleasure.