On writing honestly


writer

After a long absence from le blog, I’m back!

My laptop was broken (again) so I couldn’t write…erm, sort of.

The more accurate explanation is that I couldn’t write because writing about my thoughts is a terrifying ordeal. To expose myself to the world is as close as I’ll ever get to sky diving: the experience of falling into space (the internet) and not knowing how you’ll land (readers’ judgements). I am by nature a very honest person, but it’s really difficult to bare it all online. I think the success of some of the best bloggers and writers lies heavily on being able to balance what to reveal to the world-and thus connect truthfully to readers-and what to keep personal. This transparency balance is something that I struggle with A LOT in my writings so if anyone has any advice on how to get over this conundrum, I’m all ears.

As I await your comments, here’s one of my favorite poems that I’d like to share with you. It always inspires me to live more authentically and I hope it does the same to you:

The Invitation by Oriah

It doesn’t interest me

what you do for a living.

I want to know

what you ache for

and if you dare to dream

of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me

how old you are.

I want to know

if you will risk

looking like a fool

for love

for your dream

for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me

what planets are

squaring your moon…

I want to know

if you have touched

the centre of your own sorrow

if you have been opened

by life’s betrayals

or have become shrivelled and closed

from fear of further pain.

I want to know

if you can sit with pain

mine or your own

without moving to hide it

or fade it

or fix it.

I want to know

if you can be with joy

mine or your own

if you can dance with wildness

and let the ecstasy fill you

to the tips of your fingers and toes

without cautioning us

to be careful

to be realistic

to remember the limitations

of being human.

It doesn’t interest me

if the story you are telling me

is true.

I want to know if you can

disappoint another

to be true to yourself.

If you can bear

the accusation of betrayal

and not betray your own soul.

If you can be faithless

and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty

even when it is not pretty

every day.

And if you can source your own life

from its presence.

I want to know

if you can live with failure

yours and mine

and still stand at the edge of the lake

and shout to the silver of the full moon,

“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me

to know where you live

or how much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up

after the night of grief and despair

weary and bruised to the bone

and do what needs to be done

to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me

who you know

or how you came to be here.

I want to know if you will stand

in the centre of the fire

with me

and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me

where or what or with whom

you have studied.

I want to know

what sustains you

from the inside

when all else falls away.

I want to know

if you can be alone

with yourself

and if you truly like

the company you keep

in the empty moments.

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming,

from the book The Invitation

published by HarperONE, San Francisco,

1999 All rights reserved

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5 thoughts on “On writing honestly

  1. I think the answer to your question lies in the question itself. You have to understand what is personal material and what is not. If you feel there is a need to bare it all online then ask yourself several questions, why would you want to bare it all online? what drove you to even think about something like that, are you upset, are you lonely do you need affirmation, is it worth it or are you simply being a writer? Then ask yourself this what do you expect from your readers? I think these are some of the questions that you need to ask yourself first. So I finish by saying the answer to your question lies withing the question itself. I hope the laptop will stay fixed for longer this time.

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  2. A tough one. I think once inclined to tell a story, any story, the urge to get it out, like ambitions, gnaws on psyche and if unexpressed lingers on the surface leaving a hint here, a hint there, little snippets drop subconsciously and that, i think, is what makes a writer, the insuppressible conversations/emotions/ideas that flood the mind and yearn for space to meander and overflow, an outlet if you will.

    If you want to write, you must write and unburden yourself on the page, for ideas escape, positions change, fresh insight corrupts and all sorts of things happen to the mind, so get the writing bit out of the way and ponder upon the questions on privacy later. If it were a subject too close to heart and one not comfortable addressing publicly yet, id use an archetype with aspects of realism and because these conversations stem from a place of genuine attachment, as writer you’d tend to be clearer and convincing in your characters and as a reader, it would resonate more for us. It is a rule of thump in literature that every writer have so of bits of themselves in their work, thats why when studying the works of prominent writers a lot of the critical analysis of the text is devoted to the writer’s background and life circumstances and politics of that society at that particular time so that a bit of context is generated. However, the balance is needed, should one use themselves up entirely or leave some for reflection and analysis.

    Some of us read for pleasure and do not necessarily bother psychoanalysing the writer unless it were a sensitive subject, some just scratch the surface out of curiosity and depending on the nature of text and go beyond the words on the page to get a glimpse of writer’s politics and frame mind. In the end, it will be about a delicate balance deciding how much of yourself should go into your work and what point.

    I wouldnt worry about how it will be received, writing for me is about experimentation, its about trying different styles with form and narrative to see what works, obviously, it is important to have the occasional second third fourth pair of eyes for honest feedback and perhaps even redrafting of material before the piece is released to the jungle but once its out there, let people make what they will of it. The best of writers were people who were ostracised for their views at the time. I hope it makes sense, and please write, if even you dont publish it, it will evolve and take a life of its own and grow and engage you, get it out on paper and have a conversation with it in the comforts of your privacy and only release what you are comfortable with.

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  3. Please contemplate on the following saying, it might help you opt on what or what not to write:

    “Oh writer! An Angel watches over all you write. Make your writing meaningful for it will eventually return to you and you will be questioned about what you wrote.”
    (Ali ibn Abu Talib (r.a)

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  4. Your intention for writing will spur you to either bare all or restrict some info. Is your intent that of sharing, amusing, informing, accusing, correcting, encouraging (and the list goes on).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think you are already being very honest by writing this post, and you are not at fault at all to question yourself and take time to comtemplate.

    Sometimes our emotions get clogged up and its best to sort them out internally because if/when we dont we just end out sounding bitter and bringing out more harm than good in the writing. I love the quote “thecall” wrote 🙂

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