Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Writing Our Truth

Kidlet entered  a selection of poems and song lyrics in some contests and to her credit several were published. Kidlet is a good writer .. her words and ideals are passionate and she has a unique style. She was reluctant to let me read one of the posts ... it dealt with a fight that we had. She was afraid it would hurt me. And it did ... just a little, and only for a moment.

When I was in high school my dad read a poem I wrote for my writing class entitled "Grandfather". It had some stanzas that  expressed frustration with cranky old people. My dad thought I wrote it about his father and it upset him. In reality the poem was partiall inspired by feelings I was having about my grandmother who was living with us. I entitled the poem as I did so she wouldn't think it was about her. The poem was based on partly truth... and mostly fiction.  Hey -- I was an arteest!

Those of us who write carry a burden -- the potential that what we express may hurt or invade the  privacy of someone we care about. Our truths may not be shared by others ...

When I was a girl keeping a diary my mom advised me that words could hurt so I may not want to write down everything I think and feel ... especially if it involved others. She felt that no one should be offended if they should happen to read what was written.

I spent years heeding that advice. But the result are three year gaps in my journals -- when things were tough and when my words would have been hurtful. My mom was a really nice person and her advice came from a place of thoughtfulness and kindness. But she wasn't a writer. And I have learned to express my authentic self without being destructive I hope. But it is always in the back of mind ...

My dad struggled with this too. When he started writing his personal reflections and memoirs, he was guarded. His writing was factual - arms length - devoid of heart. We spent alot of time talking about the dilemma of how much to reveal ... We decided to focus on our own personal experiences ... afterall, we own them and have a right to share them. In the past two years I have watched his writing become so much more textured, honest and personal. He is liberated and it shows in his words.

So the words I didn't say to Kidlet were, "I understand. I know this is how it looked through your eyes, and how you felt at that exact moment in time. You are entitled."

We have a need to express and just have to do our darnest not to trample any hearts in the process. But there are no guarantees ...

6 comments:

  1. Way to go, Kidlet! :) And a job well done to you as well for accepting her poems that might have been written in anger.

    Oftentimes the things written in the height of emotion are the ones that really speak to the reader because they resonate more clearly.

    And you were right with what you said in the end, what we write is how we feel in one moment. But not necessarily what we truly believe. ;)

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  2. Lovely message! No guarantees for sure, but the awareness means that those who might feel hurt might also look into the mirror that the other is holding.
    cuz

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  3. I agree with you Lyn, if we don't write out 'our' experiences then we cannot move on from them. We become trapped in people pleasing and others truth of a situation. It's not that their truth is wrong it just isn't our truth, or better put , preception.
    xx

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  4. I agree with you Lyn, if we don't write out 'our' experiences then we cannot move on from them. We become trapped in people pleasing and others truth of a situation. It's not that their truth is wrong it just isn't our truth, or better put , preception.
    xx

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  5. Although it can be painful, sometimes it is good to share how you really felt in a moment - whether through talking or through writing. I think that when you talk about things that are personal, people will be hurt because the truth often hurts, but that doesn't meant you should never mention it. My college roommate read my diary and it was so extremely hurtful to me - that breach of trust. Although I had written some hurtful things in there about her, it was more hurtful that she read it. So, although your mom is right when she says take care what you write, people should also take care what they read.
    You are an amazing mother.

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  6. I've grappled with this problem, being a diary writer for many years. What I write on any given day is never, ever the whole picture, but readers may easily think it is (especially if they themselves are not diary writers) and I do worry that a cranky comment, read after I've died, for instance, could be taken as my perspective of a loved one and could hurt. I worry about what to do with that trunkful of diaries, for that very reason. I may add a disclaimer that explains that one rotten remark doesn't mean it's all of what I thought of someone, but with all those diaries, who's going to be sure to see that disclaimer? It's a dilemma!

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