Publicly personal

I have a great admiration for those who write very personal blog posts. Those who can open themselves and show the world their bruises, their weaknesses, their love, their beauty, themselves.

It is not something I do. Like many, I’ve succumbed to the passive or vague (and usually half-drunk) tweet or facebook status. But it’s not the same.

Not that there aren’t good reasons to keep yourself to yourself. Our emotions often work against us. That moment of pride you write about comes across as a #humblebrag, and last night’s outpouring of sadness looks, or at least feels, embarrassing this morning. After the tears dried and your inner strength came crawling back.

But then, perhaps that only applies to self-pity (as Stephen Fry says, self-pity destroys everything around it except itself) or showing off. Posts unwittingly designed as a plea for love or admiration from others. What about simple and pure emotional honesty?

I don’t know. I think it’s a good thing, but not something I’m willing to do yet. Instead my approach is to pour the feelings, like unset jelly, into my fiction. Let it fill the cracks and solidify in ways that allow me to see it anew. I’m not so crass as to replicate myself or others in my stories, but the characters that exist there get to experience the pain and love, the beauty and hurt, the joy and fear, that I experience*.

And for that, my dear fictional friends, I am sorry. You better strap in, this novel is going to be quite the ride.


*This is not uncommon for fiction writers. It has often been said that the reason Douglas Adams’ final Hitchhiker’s Guide novel is so downbeat is due to him going through a difficult moment in his life.

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