Writing truthfully...

I started this post on "writing truthfully" several months ago, then blew away everything I had written to replace it with this one quote by Anne Lamott--who captured the thought so beautifully and with so much more clarity than my initial words.

It is from one of my favorite books, Bird by Bird
"If something inside you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Don't worry about appearing sentimental. Worry about being unavailable; worry about being absent or fraudulent. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you're a writer, you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act--truth is always subversive."
I do worry about what I write. I want it to be honest. To not change what I write because of fear of what I think you might think of me. To always be truthful about where I am in the moment--whether that is inspirational or frivolous or whiny or curious or afraid.

What if Anne's advice doesn't just apply to writing but to life? It seems we have to show up and be open in the face-to-face be real. If not, we run the risk of all of these fake versons of ourselves interacting with fake versions of other people and there will be no community at all. (It will be like middle school.)

Maybe one of the most beautiful things about young children is that they haven't learned to create false versions of themselves. Oh they pretend--yes--but even as they try on roles, they will still stick jelly beans up their nose and giggle outrageously when something makes them laugh. To them, pretending is a way to explore the world, not a mechanism for hiding from it. I'm pretty sure there is something to that.

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© Random Cathy
Maira Gall