I awoke just now to a sudden gust of wind and violent pellets of rain colliding against the roof. Two minutes later, the rain was already a gently sprinkle, and the trees were tucking in their undergarments and straightening their skirts. This is what they look like right now, as if they are putting themselves back together, slightly embarrassed from revealing too much “skin”.
And so it is with writing, and I had not even expected to get to this subject with such a natural segue. But it’s so true. Sometimes, you write something so painfully or brutally honest, and then in the aftermath of such an emotional dump (though that sounds cruder than I want), you’re left tucking your clothes back in and fixing your hair. People saw me like that?, you start thinking.
The idea that I could publish any of my writing is relatively new to me. A friend of mine in Atlanta inspired me to do more than simply write in a blog. To write for a much larger audience. You can follow her lovely blog here at Mama the Reader or often find her writing on the Huffington Post blog.
So after my two recent publications on Sweatpants and Coffee, an obvious yet eye-opening shift is happening in me. The knowledge of responsibility . It’s a heavy burden to tell a true story. It’s even heavier if others are involved. I can see now why writers might quickly turn to fiction to avoid the biggest reveals about their unhappy marriage (not me) or their estranged parents (yes, me).
How does one tread lightly without knocking the good china off the wall? Without breaking a heart or sullying a person’s image of you? I suppose it’s not possible. Truth sometimes requires a lost shingle or two and some broken branches. But everything settles down again when it’s over. At least, in part.
In some ways, however, you’re not the same and others might not be either. Once words are out there in print, you can’t take them back. Your appearance to some might be forever altered, for better or for worse. And this is something a writer, of any kind – whether prestigious and highly acclaimed or solely known on an online magazine or two – must carry. The burden of truth. And how it forever alters everything.
But writers provide access for others to accept their own truths. They provide solidarity, enlightenment, and laughter. They provide wisdom that can lift us and support us. That can change us.
For me, I started writing in a blog so that I could reveal, not just to others but to myself. So I could reveal the parts of me needing to be told, to be understood, or worked out. Putting yourself out there is not easy, but for some of us, it’s as necessary as a rainstorm. And where would any of us be without a good rainstorm? Or without someone to tell us about their own?