An established poet once told me that art was his way of getting even with the world. A woman who’d dumped him was immortalized by a verse of his that ended with the line: ” I never liked you lasagne, it was always too dry.” The poem is interestingly layered as on one hand it criticizes his ex, on the other, it sends up his own love sickness.
Using art to score a personal goal is a negative approach, nonetheless, it does make me think about why I write. There is something godlike about creating a world where you decide the destinies of each character within. A lot of writers admit to liking this level of control, however imaginary. Bad writers are notorious for having a ‘Mary Sue protagonist’ (an idealized version of themselves) who is set upon by nasty characters who bear resemblance to real people whom the writer dislikes. However, such writing is usually very bad – and more often than not, immature.
It is better, and more interesting (and perhaps more therapeutic) to conjure more rounded characters. You may choose to write about something that happened to you, but try to do so from the point of view (and a sympathetic one) of your nemesis in the situation. You’ll be surprised at what comes up and how your world view may even change as a result. Or, as in the the case of my poet friend’s lasagne poem, turn your story so your art is also gently chiding yourself for your own love-sickness, anger, jealousy, disappointment, greed etc…I feel that art used as a weapon in a personal vendetta will only ever be cheese. Cheesey lasgane, in fact.