Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Facts, honesty, reality and the truth

i just deleted a boring entry full of southern folklore about winter weather and complaints about the 11 degree wind chill factor while my central heat is down for the count. (The joys of home ownership mean about two more weeks before I can get it repaired. In the meantime, thank goodness for space heaters and blankets.)

I could have gone on and posted my entry. It had some quite nice descriptive imagery that was all too easy to write, some coziness about the kittens burrowing under my blankets, and a couple of lame jokes about how we southern drivers panic in ice and snow. In short, it was bullshit that deserved to be deleted.

What's really on my mind and what's harder to write about is honesty. I've always thought that honesty was at the core of all good writing, yet it is the blogger's dilemma. How much is enough to really make my point? How much is just too much? Where are the lines between the reality of life that reaches people, lack of discretion, internet stupidity and TMI? What are the risks of honesty? Is it all I've cracked it up to be? Is imagination and creativity better than pure honesty? Or can they be separated at all? Does factual honesty always convey the reality of a situation, or do we inevitably superimpose our own reactions onto someone else's situation? Do we even have a shot at the truth? Is complete honesty desirable or even possible?

I have no answers tonight, but the questions intrigue me. As a person who tries to be moral, to honor God by trying to live the standards of my religion, and to exercise ethics in the choices in my life, the issue of honesty is unavoidable. As a salesperson, I'm faced with the challenge of discovering the reality of my client's needs and presenting honest, verifiable, factual information in the most possibly appealing way. As a writer, I'm always trying to blend dead on honesty and fiction, to capture a moment of identifiable reality in the make believe tapestry of a poem or a story, or as in my sales job, to present facts and ideas in a polished, palatable, readable way. Am I attempting the impossible? Will I end up like Sally Field in Absence of Malice when asked if her story was the truth by responding, "No, but it's accurate."

These aren't the biggest questions in the world. They can be seen as the meat of sophomoric all night bull sessions, but I can't seem to avoid them. These may be questions that we need to recycle and answer more than once in our lives. For me, these are questions of integrity, not just about reliability of character, but the unity of self, and until I can settle these questions, there will be part of me that cannot rest.

honesty

2 Comments:

Blogger Lisa :-] said...

I guess I'm more prone to the "TMI" end of the spectrum...

January 30, 2007 11:53 PM  
Blogger Theresa Williams said...

I hope you are devoting time to your creative writing projects.
:-)

February 02, 2007 10:08 PM  

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