Thursday, March 05, 2009

Exposure

After reading "Looking In," the essay I posted yesterday, one of my students asked me via email if I hadn't been afraid of writing it for fear of being judged, of exposing such a personal time in my life. She was even nervous to ask that question and said she would have never asked me in person.

I welcomed her question, but told her no, I wasn't afraid of others judging me, that it was a long time ago that I was writing about, before I remarried, before I had my son. No one's perfect, I said, and some of us are less perfect than others, so no, I wasn't afraid of what people would think of me. If we writers aren't writing the truth, then what are we writing?

That said, there are essays I will probably never write because they could expose more than the people I'd write about would want exposed. Those are experiences I may one day fictionalize, But essays, no.

I did worry a little about publishing "Looking In," worried that those I was writing about would become unhappy with me. In the end, I figured that the person who looked worse of all was me, and if I was willing to put me on the page, than everyone else would be fine. I was wrong, though, and I know that there is at least one person unhappy with me because of writing it.

1 comment:

Mary Castillo said...

Your essay received a lot of positive letters in the January issue because I think just about everyone has thought of straying, or has strayed from a relationship. "Looking In" felt honorable (you took responsibility for yourself rather than blame everyone else) and compassionate.

But you're right, some things are best disguised in fiction. In my experience, the people I've written about never guess correctly. They always think they're the good guys!