Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Privacy in what I write
Much of what writers scribe is auto-biographical. All fiction written is. Writer’s have to build upon their experiences, beliefs and personalities, even if only to explore contradictions and alternate viewpoints. Sometimes we write about those we know…in varying levels of clarity.
Indeed, those gradations are a tool. Do we want people from our lives to be recognized in what we write or not? Are we comfortable blatantly discussing events and relationships, especially in today’s world where so many people seemingly are.
Getting feedback from my daughter on a children’s story I’m writing I was forbidden to include a detail she considered too personal. That’s the stuff she sees: what about the stuff she doesn’t? Am I betraying a trust?
Can I write about my childhood (hence my parents), marriage (my ex-husband) or dating? Since I’m not comfortable being totally open and honest about my personal life (go figure, right?) am I actually kidding myself that the people who know me won’t see through the facades I try to construct around details?
Over the weekend I started sketching out how I’ve changed and grown over the past ten years and what factors shaped me during that time. The few pages I have already are so personal and touch most of the important people in my life. If I write it can I actually make it public?
We have gotten so open with tell-alls, confessionals, addiction and abuse stories and, of course, reality television. While relying on “social norms” is generally not a good move for a writer (Lawrence, Cervantes, Nabokav, etc) they shouldn’t be ignored altogether. Your audience can only be pushed so far out of their comfort zone before they disengage. Then there is Salman Rushdie and the fatwa declared after he wrote about the Koran and Mohammed.
I’d planned on posting part of the transformation book today on this blog but chose to write on privacy instead.