Wednesday, February 17, 2010
One of my inspiring teachers is writing a book linking danger and writing. My imagination has been at play with that connection for a while now. You need courage to write, not just because your cousin Joanne won't like how you portrayed her as a bitch (or she thought you did) in your novel or memoir. The deeper risk is that it shakes up your own soul. All of those things you could list that you DON'T want to write about are the things you need to confront, but each one takes an act of courage on your part. Even if you are not going to write any memoir, you need to mine these past events because their emotional freight is what makes your writing come alive. Digging into buried pain bombs is not easy. And it can be rewarding but there are no guarantees: you can't say to yourself, okay, if I think this through finally, my relationship with my dad will be fixed forever. It may not be. You may need to keep revisiting that healing sore on and on into the future because there is still shrapnel there. But some of the hurt area will recover the healthy pinkness of flesh and definitely, the emotions you uncover will spark up your writing. Go there, take the risk.