There is an old adage about writers that states that everything that happens in a writer’s life isn’t bad because it’s material. I have to admit that I’ve shared this view for many years. I’m not sure if the events in my life drove me to write or that writing demanded interesting events so I would have something to write about – the old chicken/egg conundrum – which came first? However, I do know that writing for me has always been cathartic. It has become the salve that eases the pain, greases the joy and abates the boredom.
The invention of stories only served to spice up my otherwise dull existence and enabled me to travel, try on various professions and occupations and realize (in some odd way) the things I coveted but couldn’t get in real life. It also enabled me to rewrite history in order to change the course of a real life event toward the result that should have been, rather than what was.
For all of these reasons and more I have turned to the written word to sound out what was happening in my life – making me oddly enough, my own confidante.
Recently though, I’ve come to ask myself if all of my experiences should be material. If my life was meant to be a screwball display of my failures and triumphs in a public forum such as this. If some things are too private to reveal or elude to. And if so, why? To save myself from embarrassment or humiliation – or is it to protect the other unassuming participants in my life who have a right to privacy?
I have concluded that is all of the above and more. That there really are some things that are too private to use as fodder to fill pages. There really is sometimes to high a collateral damage factor.
So…color me quiet and somewhat surprised…my life isn’t in fact, an open book, after all.
5 thoughts on “Material…”
You’re right. Not everything should be fodder for writing, and some things need to remain private.
Maybe at a later date and with a different perspective, they can once again became an inspiration to the next thing you write about, but it sounds like now is not the time.
If I can help in any way, send me an email Annie.
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Thanks, Daisy. 😉
It’s always interesting to read why another writer writes — their motives, thought processes, etc. And I agree, what we write sometimes may be too personal, too revealing, or too self-indulgent to make public. That’s okay; writing is an end in itself. Whether it’s ever seen by another human being is entirely up to you. (I have some extensive personal journals hidden away and I’ve started wondering whether I should keep them, in case my heirs might find them interesting, or destroy them, to ensure no one is hurt by them.)
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To be honest with you, I often wonder why I do write. I seem not to be able not to write I guess is the best description I have of it. A possession of sorts I think. Yes, too personal. Funny though, I’ve never been good at the journaling thing, it always makes me feel as though I’m in a job interview and I feel to self conscious to write down my real feelings. That must sound funny coming from me but I guess the truth is stranger than fiction, eh?
Writing is a strange old thing, that’s for sure. What can be safely considered open slather and what can’t, or shouldn’t? That’s why I consider it a real privilege when I am able to read someone’s considered musings in a public forum such as this. I feel like I can learn something from what others have to say because I haven’t walked in their shoes, and thus have not had the life experiences that they have had. That’s why I read, and that’s what I hope people get when they read my comics and writings. Yes, and it’s also a necessary process for my own personal catharsis.
Yes, writing is a strange animal – I suppose as strange as any other art form. I agree with you that it is very interesting to read another’s viewpoint of a subject – it certainly does give us the potential to widen our own horizons and views.
I’ll just add that sometimes I think we need to have finished living the experience before we can process it properly and put it into perspective. Or we have experiences or emotions that can easily be misinterpreted without the context which may be long and convoluted and not lend itself to the telling of tales.
I think that like in interacting with people face to face, that discresion is the best tool we can employ. 🙂
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Very good points, all. You really can’t get perspective without benefit of time on certain things, can you? And discretion, yes, absolutely.
I really try to live with no secrets… it’s so much easier. There are very few things about me anymore I’m not willing to blog or write about for public consumption.
Which is just fine, and what I have to be super careful about is not blowing someone else’s story that’s intertwined with mine.
The old golden rule seems to work pretty well in most cases.
Anne Wayman, now blogging at http://www.aboutfreelancewriting.com
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Hi Anne & welcome to my little dive –
I am not really talking about secrets so much as simply private issues. I suppose not blowing someone else’s story is another way of putting it.
Thanks for the visit, much appreciated.