Lindsey wrote an interesting, heartfelt essay about perceptions, misconceptions, and assumptions. Some comments were supportive, others enlightening. One stood out to me. It said something along the lines of why would we want to read about all the grueling crap (her words were more eloquent than this) - we already have this in our lives and don’t need to read more - its neither lovely nor inspiring to read.
I remember a discussion years ago about Billy Joel’s song “Goodnight Saigon.” It never became a big hit in the United States or England, despite the powerful emotions it evoked. They were painful, too much of a harsh reality.
In a writing class, the teacher gave some advice to a classmate. “You have had some bad things happen to you, but you can’t vomit on your readers. They have had bad things happen to them as well. You must provide some sort of resolution or they will leave.”
A therapist once told me that those that have harmed you must have a way out. There always has to be a way for them to make amends to you, just as there has to be a way for you to make amends to those you hurt. There must be a way to move forward or everyone is stuck.
We all need hope. We all need balance, and are constantly searching for it. We choose who we read. I try to choose writers that offer the right balance of truth and hope and light for me.
Herein lies one of the paradoxes in most writing: You can not tell the whole truth if you want to get to the real truth. I consider truth to be infinite. Truth is relative and multi dimensional. In the written word, it is about the writer and the reader and their own previous experiences. I can write the sky is a beautiful blue that is a replica of my daughters eyes. You may look at the sky and realize its the color of your fathers eyes and may take you down a road of wonderful memories. I have chosen the truthful path of a pleasant connection I have made.
Just because I didn’t tell you that the blue is also the color of the water that a dear friend drowned in a few years ago doesn’t mean it isn’t there and I didn’t think about it. I might tell you about it later, and I might not. Short essay writing, blog posts, even books are just parts of the story. That is all they can ever be.