Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Honest Writing

I sometimes wonder if I am doing this correctly.
When I started this blog I do not suppose that I knew precisely what I intended to do with it - theological and political commentary, as I recall.  Perhaps once in a while a piece of useful information or two.

That was almost 9 years ago.

What this has turned into is none of those things - rather it has become a sort of online journal of my thoughts - and then some.  I grapple with this sometimes:  is this really what I meant to do?  Is this really what I should be doing?

Much as I would like to believe myself to be, I am not the most inspirational writer all the time.  Often I am depressed - in fact, I bet if I went and considered the tone of the titles of this blog I would find that more often than not I am writing from a place of frustration or sadness or depression rather than happiness.  Certainly if there was a real market for online writing (Let's be honest - most of us do it for free) this would probably not be the royal road to riches.

The question:  Is that wrong?

One thing I always try to do when I write is be honest - in my blog, in my books, in my journals (yes, I have journals.  They go back to 1999.  They probably make this look like optimism central).  What you see on this page is unrefined me in its raw, usually early morning form.  It is one reason that I have used a nom-de-guerre all of this years even though I bet the bulk of my regular readers, being family and friends, really know who I am (and it is more than once I have gotten a call from my father asking "So, read your blog. What is up?") - it allows me a level of anonymity to write these things and feel secure enough to write them.

But am I being honest enough?  Am I being myself enough?

This is the thought that is rattling around in my head this morning:  am I being honest enough?  Is my commitment to honesty through writing as sincere as it needs to be?  Am I being myself enough that I can be honest?  Or am I even now cloaking myself in phrases and allusions so that there is some level of safety while keeping deeper issues hidden away?

The great writers, the best ones, have a way of writing that makes truth real and apparent, no matter what vehicle they use.  Their honest selves bleed out from the paper through their characters and plots and settings and writing in a way that leaves the reader craving that sort of transparency and real living - honest living - for themselves.

How do I get there?  How do I write even more honestly?  How do I be even more of me?  It is not purely by putting other parts of my life on the paper - maybe the parts no-one needs to see - that makes me more honest - it is that unwavering commitment to take a thought and follow it no matter where it leads in myself and being willing to document what I find there in a way that is not voyeuristic or crass or pernicious or hurtful but in a way that makes the thought clean and straight and true.

In iaijustu the best cuts are the ones which are kept true to the angle of the cut and the hand placement is correct.  When you have done it correctly you know it by the mirror bright line of the katana and the shwoosh of the displaced air and feeling of your hands on the tsuba  and the fact that you have completely cut through the tatami mat as it falls away.  When you have made a true and honest cut, you always know it.

May that be true of my writing as well.

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