What’s in my #1 spot right now is a host of anxieties and preoccupations that have been with me my four years, but I’ve never been able to fully address. This specifically has to do with how what I like to read, influences how I want to write.
I love to read about flawed characters – the more specifically messed up the better, because the words on the page then feel like an act of vulnerability, which is something I deeply admire. This kind of vulnerability also feels like a kind of honesty which is something that I aspire to cultivate in both my life in general but also in my writing. Because of this I think, I’m drawn to memoir. Writing about my life has helped me understand my life – and doing so feels like a way to be honest with both myself and whomever is reading it.
But I’m often not the only character in the personal essays I write and I’ve been thinking more and more about how each person I choose to represent in some way or another becomes collateral damage for my own selfish wants. The two things that I value most right now are honesty and relationships, but in a memoir, or an investigation piece these seem to be mutually exclusive. I could write about a person, fangs and all, and I’d love to do it, but even if that writing is smart and nuanced and handled much better than I’m likely currently able to handle it, does it justify the potential of a lost relationship? And if it doesn’t, than how much do I really value honesty? Or if I’m more than willing to do it, as long as the person never reads it, than how much do I really value either?
The main assumption that I also keep bumping my head up against is “that I actually know what I’m talking about – that I see these people in ways that they’re incapable of seeing themselves and therefore my version of them equals truth, which I have a interest in capturing and a responsibility to capture accurately.” And I know that’s arrogant, and likely impossible but I keep doing it anyway.
Is there a way for me to ‘safely’ tread this line? (The main assumption here being that I want to, or should want to ‘safely’ write) And if not, then how can I be the most ethical while also being nuanced and interesting. Is there a way to do that without compromising what I believe is valuable and or losing a relationship
I don’t really know if this is a topic – or how this would manifest itself so any suggestions/thoughts would be more than welcomed.
Another random thing that I’m kind of interested in is I bought a hand lettering tutorial last summer because I wanted to learn how to create beautiful and elegant letter forms. But as part of that, I get these emails from Sean (that’s the guy’s name) twice weekly with all kinds of advice about chasing your dreams and ways to align your passion with your work etc. etc. with podcasts and everything. They their own folder in my email because I love that stuff and at some point I would really like to read/listen to all of them. But I’m also kind of baffled by him and the emails all at the same time. 1) how does he constantly feel like he has a revelation he needs to share with the world 2) what makes him so confident the world wants to hear it and 3) why does this kind of writing seem more and more common place. I think in one he explicitly says that this part of his work – and even though he’s giving it out for free (I only paid once for all of the tutorials) is crucial to his success, but I still don’t understand how that’s possible. I signed up to learn how to do art, not necessarily to hear platitudes. So there’s a potential angle of blog culture and why so many small businesses see it as essential.