Monday, December 08, 2008


Yesterday afternoon while browsing at a bookstore in the Castro, I pointed out a Philip Roth novel in the bargain section. V read and loved The Human Stain. He remarked, "You know what makes Philip Roth's work so amazing? Its brutal honesty."

That reminded me of something that came up in my memoir writing workshop back in Fredonia. I've never been able to really write with complete openness. I censor my blog because of who may be reading it. And I even hold back in my journal writing, leery that someday someone might read that. To some degree I attribute this to an early childhood memory of my mother reading my elder sister's diary. I mentioned this to someone, and they were aghast: how dare my mother do such a thing?! I, however, know exactly how. My teenage sister was completely out of control, and my mother desperately wanted to do something about that. Of course violating her daughter's privacy was not a good way to go about it, but my mother was doing the best she could. It's possible to appreciate that in retrospect.

Now that I'm on the topic, I recall another incident. A decade ago I went through a rather long and messy (thanks to me) break up, and my long-distance, soon-to-be-ex- boyfriend logged in and read the messages in my email account. Though I was surprised and appalled, I could not really blame him. At a distance and in absence of any real meaningful communication from me, it was the only avenue left open to him.


Blogger evr said...

Well, to be brutally honest.... I know it wasn't always easy to be my friend but somehow you stuck it out. I'm not sure if I ever expressed how thankful I am that you did.

7:30 PM  
Blogger jain said...

I agree and understand your reluctance to be transparent online. I think its only natural to want to protect oneself from the general population. I always wonder about people who "tell all". Are they just more trusting or are they naive?

4:11 AM  
Anonymous laughing yogini said...

It's important to be as honest as possible in your writing for a couple of reasons- the most important in my mind is that we need to accept it all as part of us. Having said that you don't need to PUBLISH everything you write. Having said THAT, I think you are opening wonderfully and revealing more of your own SELF, which is the same as my own SELF and all of your other readers.
When we start getting into judgment , well, that is another issue entirely.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

I was having this conversation just earlier today about writing. The point it came down to was to trust your writing. It was determined that I over think and over analyze aspects of it, including who may be the eventual reader of it. I had just picked up my copy of "Love Is A Mad Dog From Hell" by Charles Bukowski a few days ago for this very reason. I wanted to be inspired by his fearlessness.

9:24 PM  

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