You know, I’ve a keen eye and attraction to my personal aesthetics, whether it’s the decor in my home, how I put together my own clothes, admiring someone else (particularly women) or the way the late day sun hits the mountains. Sometimes my aesthetics match society’s; sometimes they do not. But I refuse to attribute it entirely to cultural expectation and I especially refuse to feel guilty about it.
The above is a partial comment I left on a friend’s Facebook post. To be clear, she’s not a person who needed to hear that from me. But I am a person who needed to say it. I’m fairly attracted to certain aesthetics and really repulsed by things that aren’t in that. For instance, I’m not into the Far East aesthetic. I mean, I’ve tried to see the allure (and I’m really thinking decor here) but I’m just don’t care for it.
I’m picky about decor in my house. I’ve a keen eye for color and space and use, and it bugs me immensely if things don’t match What I Like. I’m no neat freak but I do have certain things I like based on my own aesthetic. For instance, I just noticed (AGAIN) the damned screen door was half open over the closed slider glass door and besides it allowing the dogs to claw at the door (for some reason they leave the screen alone) it’s a total pet peeve. It just makes me cringe. Lest you think I’m anal-retentive, open cabinet doors do not.
I think personal aesthetic applies to my writing as well. Honestly, the first thing that attracted me to writing a series set in Scotland is the country itself. I feel an affiliation with it (beyond my own Fraser/Frazier roots) and of course there are men in kilts and the fabulously sexy accent. But there are women in kilts in my story, and the accent is giving me fits, and still I push on because it’s matching my personal aesthetic at this point for some reason I can’t really name. I also like the mystery aspects of HOUSE OF THE HANGED MAN but it’s the aesthetic that keeps me going; imagining my people doing their thing in kilts, talking in their accents, living their lives in cold nasty mountainous weather (to which I’m fairly familiar).
I have a strong Christian aesthetic too. When I was writing THE SILVER SCAR the gothic church, the crosses, the language all attracted me. As well, swords and cloaks and armor attract me, too, damn it, and I won’t apologize for it.
I used to have a list on my old site of things I write about, and they were mostly based on aesthetics:
Silver, Mirrors (you find them in all my books), the symbolism of reflectionsAll the Swears
Smoking and Smoke (important characters smoke in my books)
Kilts (even in the SEVEN EYES books their armor often consists of kilts)
Sigils and Symbols (I’m no GRRM but I tattoo them on my characters frequently)TattoosQuiet SpacesBiracial characters (even in my first novel ARCHIVE OF FIRE, demidemons are human/demon mixes)
I encourage writers (and really anyone) to follow your personal aesthetic. You won’t go wrong if you do. Own it. Express it. Love it.