Blog reader-friend Mom wrote in wondering where I have been all week and then remembered I have been a-hustle and a-bustle with end of the year activities. I was at kindergarten every day. It’s another big week this week getting in the last concerts, programs and such.
Toward the end of the week I was in an interesting discussion about what is appropriate in public writing. I have spent most of my life thinking about this. My parents, as you know, published a weekly newspaper, and I was from time to time the topic of their weekly columns. Sometimes it was very fun to be a part of their writing. Sometimes it was hard. Sometimes things were said that I didn’t want the world to know. When I got older and I had my turn with a column, sometimes I cranked out real gems. Sometimes I said too much and regretted it.
I have always been a very poor liar. As I age, I think I have become more diplomatic, but as I proved in an awkward situation this weekend, if you ask me a question point blank, I will have a difficult time not just spitting out the truth as I see it.
So the question is — what is permissible when we write things others will read? Is it okay to expose ourselves and our own truth in the rawness of writing even if it may be difficult? Would it be better to sanitize/filter/guard our written word?
I can probably speak to both sides of this argument. I have seen people really hurt by the written word. I have struggled through writing that probably shouldn’t have been published. I have read words that should have been kept private.
In my heart of hearts, I fall on the side that says good writing changes people and perspectives. Now, I would never classify my little blog musings as good writing, but I continue in this format on the odd chance someone will be able to identify with something I say or — perhaps — for the more selfish reason that I hope to be better understood. At the old blog home I had I Corinthians 13:12 at the bottom. “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
Did Harper Lee set out to write a book that makes me cry every time I read “To Kill a Mockingbird?” Probably not. Then again maybe she did. She only wrote the one book. By and large, the rest of her work she kept private.
Of course, her dear friend was Truman Capote and it’s not like he kept his true thoughts to himself . . .
Maybe the question isn’t so much what is permissible in personal writing, but am I willing to take responsibility for what I write?
Yes. Otherwise, why bother?