My Whole Expanse I Cannot See…

I formulate infinity stored deep inside of me…

Jun 6

Transparency

Category: Life

So, I write with the intent to be honest, completely honest. Even when I’m writing fiction, I open my wrists a bit, I bleed into the writing. I write whatever’s in me. I like writing the way I write, with such transparency. I write to be known, and maybe understood. I don’t write to make people like me, or love me, or hate me. Elliott Smith once said about his writing that he didn’t write songs to make people feel a certain way, he wrote descriptions, and those descriptions could be interpreted differently. It’s an idea that really stuck with me, it’s exactly how I feel about my writing. I don’t write to inspire people, or depress the Hell out of people. I write the noise in my head, to paint something subjective, and to use my craft well.

The thing is, while I like transparency, and I’m definitely committed to it, it’s not easy. People are fine with writing about puppies, unicorns, turtles named, Kurt. Happy is fine. Suicide, depression, drugs, liquor, sex, those things are often too honest for people close to me. People want to fix me, or save me, or avoid the writing. Sometimes people get angry, frustrated that I’m often so dark. I don’t want people close to me to react badly. I don’t write to upset people, to scare people. It’s hard for people to understand that I’m practicing my craft, I’m writing what I feel until I feel something else. I don’t want to wear a mask, to write comfortable half-truths, happy lies. I used to write that way, and I hated it, it didn’t suit me. 

Transparency is difficult, but I can’t go back to anything less. I think that at the end of everything, I would regret writing differently. Darkness is all I have right now, but writing darkness feels better than writing nothing.

6 comments

6 Comments so far

  1. Susie June 6th, 2009 11:35 pm

    It is very nice of you to worry about that, but maybe they could just not read your writing for a while? Anything you write between certain hours? That’s your profession. I don’t tell my friends/family all the details of my profession just because it would bore them. And people who’s influence doesn’t help, I tell even less.

  2. Jess June 7th, 2009 4:14 pm

    I can do nothing BUT write with transparency. My writings come from real life events – a look, a statement, a movement – and then my imagination takes over, and I can fill all the ‘what ifs’ on the page. A lot of times my imagination turns to the dark, but there is a sort of redemption there, owning up to the feelings and fleshing them out in some sort of physical form, even if it’s just words on paper.

    I’ve noticed that if I’m not out in the world, doing things, my muse disappears. The current idea kicking around in my head is just one line, something someone said the first time they saw my tattoo – it’s gaelic for freedom. The lines that are floating around in my head are “His body entered the frame of the mirror she was studying herself in. His hand reached out, tracing the ink on her back. ‘What does that mean?’ he asked, moving closer to press his body against her. ‘Freedom’ she said, letting her head fall back onto his shoulders, giving it up.”

  3. michael June 7th, 2009 4:41 pm

    Susie: If it’s published, people read it. I don’t see a way around it.

    Jess: I know what you mean, my writing comes from experiences too. It’s all about being out in the world, living. Inactivity is death.

  4. Andy June 7th, 2009 10:46 pm

    All I get is “how can I save you”

    to be honest, I’m not even sure that I want to be saved.

  5. Sir Tessa June 7th, 2009 11:20 pm

    I have encountered the same with my blog. Don’t want to cause others undue concern, but at the same time, I can’t not say what I need to say.

    I trust my friends to know me and recognise that it’s all just processing, not cries for help.

  6. Windchild July 2nd, 2009 2:08 pm

    The great artist Frida Kahlo’s work was often misunderstood and she was at times described as a surrealist painter. She said ” I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.” Indeed she painted her loves, life experiences, and her physical and emotional pain, she literally turned her insides out in some of her paintings to show what was happening inside her. Here’s to the beauty of the truth of transparency!!

    I am teaching a course this summer to grad students and hope to use the piece from This American Life and your blog to help them confront their assumptions of what they think they know of those of us with disabilities.

    Thank you for modeling the removal of masks. Laura

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