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Expressing and Writing

January 18, 2007

I suppose for some time now, the idea that writing is a difficult thing on an emotional level, is an idea that has been there, but never something I allowed myself to truly dwell on. I think there was probably some fear of finding a fear of writing. I love it too much. Why question a good thing, I asked myself. Just go with it.

There have definitely been moments when I paused and said “No, I’m offering too much of myself.” Not just in terms of story, but also in terms of emotion, and the thought behind those stories. And I’m not talking just about the blog. I’m also talking about the poetry, the short stories, the novel. I mean I put a rough draft on the world wide web, for goodness sake.

I was recently discussing MySpace with a friend who just joined, and I asked him what he thought of it. He laughed a bit, and said that he wished he had hours to peruse the site and read things. He said that my site alone would take that much time, and mentioned the link to this blog. I forgot about that link, so it surprised me a bit. We continued the discussion, with me asking him what he thought of the blog stuff, and he suddenly became quite serious. “Well, you’re certainly putting yourself out there,” he said. “You have to be careful, when you do that.” His comment again surprised me. Although, it sounds in words that he was judging me, his tone was anything but. I sensed some admiration mixed with genuine concern. This rare concoction is what caught my surprise.

I’ve been thinking about it ever sense. And it’s raised some questions (and the inevitable answers) that I have long pushed to the side in my headlong search for the perfect sentence, a skillful brew of words, and the desire to tell a masterful story. The truth is the very act of writing is something a little bit brave, but the act of putting that prose in the public eye is more than a little bit. I am putting myself out there. No matter how much I tell myself, no one but a few are reading it, those few do matter. And generally speaking, the few who do read it, might matter more than a number of faceless nobodies.

Writing takes something from you. I find it unlikely that a person can be a great writer and never reveal themselves. And I want to be a great writer. I’ve been told a few times lately, that I’m a very expressive person. In all probability, this is an essential ingredient to making me a better writer. Can that expressiveness be dangerous? Yes. But as the old cliche goes: The pen is mightier than the sword.

As I grow older, my desire to act brashly is diminishing, but the desire to find this mightiness in my writing does not. Perhaps I will choose what I write about more carefully, but I can not censor myself into writer’s block. I think I have a fear of being judged on my subject matter much more than my writing style. This could be good, but it could also be bad. A double edged sword, as we say.

Additionally, because writing is such a personal matter, this means that the people in my life will inevitably end up at least in pieces in my writing. Perhaps they will be fictionalized, perhaps not. This presents me with a great responsibility. I have to be responsible for the actions and/or circumstances that arise in placing friends, family, even enemies on public display. And it is up to those people to understand that is a risk they taking in loving (or hating) me. I worry about their ability to handle it. Will they take it personally, if I paint a character similar to them in a bad light? Will they understand the deeper meaning here? Will they understand the difference between fiction and not? Etc. This, too, is part of the risk I take in writing.

But one of the greater joys in writing for me, is finding a balance, not only in exposition, but also in the subject of that exposition. The entire process is an artistic struggle, and my art consists of 21 consonants, 5 vowels and a plethora of punctuation (usually used incorrectly). Hmmm… sounds like a lot of possible combinations. OK, enough existential meandering. I need to get back to my novel…

p.s. It’s worth noting that the above post was created impulsively, hastily, and incautiously. 😉

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 20, 2007 9:46 pm

    This is good, and so true.

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