Saturday, October 23, 2010

I wasn't lying

The quality in writing that I have always admired the most is an honesty so deep it settles in your bones. For a personal blogger who tries to write well, that can be challenging. As personal as I can get, I don't believe in over sharing, but damn it, I needed to write honestly. So I sat down, pen poised over the pages of a nearly filled journal, and just decided to be honest. My college in major in journalism was actually my touchstone here. Instead of meandering about through my complex emotional state, I started with, "These are the facts of my life..." and wrote what was observable and verifiable about my current existence with few explanations, excuses or rationales.

It wasn't easy. It required a certain coldness and a willingness to squirm with shame, to cry, to laugh, to smile, to feel proud and carry on without getting caught up in the emotions. It was a good exercise, both personally and as a writer. On a personal level, I'm very good at BS. It's just never a good idea to BS yourself, and an exercise like this will stop you in your tracks. As for writing, "Show, don't tell" is such old advice, it's practically a cliche'. However, it's still damn good advice, and as I wrote, I started to emerge as a character in and not just the narrator of my own writing. I find it a very good thing that I liked her.

Work has allowed very little time for anything else, but I'm planning on doing more of this. I also found that as I was writing down the character of me, I'd have to stop and write a short scene, sometimes just a few lines, never more than a page, of something else. That was just fun, and right now, every one of those ideas is still shiny with potential. That's a welcome change. I've been shooting ideas down as fast as I could get them lately, and I need to stop that. You rebuild hope with one idea, one word and one action at a time.


Blogger Robin said...

I should do this, but I'm not sure I'm brave enough. And: would I like the person who emerges?

Of course, I like you a lot, and so I'm not surprised that you do, too!

October 23, 2010 11:23 PM  
Blogger Nelle said...

Cynthia, You are a gifted writer and I smile when I see that another entry of yours has been posted. Write on!

October 24, 2010 7:15 AM  
Blogger sunflowerkat321 said...

"I find it a very good thing that I liked her"

I wonder how many would be able to say this, provided we had the guts to undertake the exercise.

This is a feel good entry!

October 24, 2010 11:55 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

As you know, I've never had any trouble with honesty in my writing... ;) I share too much and suffer from diarrhea of the pen on a regular basis. Because my writing is so much rooted in letting out the stuff that is banging around in my head enough to make me crazy.

I'm glad this exercise worked for you, but I'm afraid if I tried it I would NOT very much like the person who emerged from a personal character study of myself. Having a hard time with that right now even when I don't think about it too much (as if...)

October 24, 2010 5:03 PM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

I think you're all being a bit too generous with me and too hard on yourselves. I definitely didn't like everything I saw when I wrote it down, but as a bigger picture emerged, I felt pretty good and could see the areas where I need to take action more clearly.

October 24, 2010 8:35 PM  
Blogger Songbird said...

I would have claimed to be writing honestly, for years now, until I was smacked in the face by some actual truth. It's hard to be that vulnerable.

October 25, 2010 1:38 PM  
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