|Kay Garston “Hide Behind Truth”|
Or do the words you choose to put on the page reflect the real you? I asked myself this question recently while I was reflecting on how many of us blog, tweet, write, and otherwise seek ways to be heard by the world. It’s a pretty noisy place out there where finding a voice can be difficult. The temptation, then, is to write wildly, into the extreme margins of life, where we can get attention because we’re so far “out there.” Or, on the flip side, we might write conservatively to the “largest common denominator” of an audience, because we’re afraid that real and deep honesty might alienate people. In either case, words become a shield that separate our true selves from the people we are trying to reach. That’s ironic and tragic.
It’s easy enough to put up a false front when we’re face to face with another person. How much easier it is in this techno-savvy era when we can be more verbose than ever while being more physically isolated than ever.
I’m not trying to draw any conclusions or make any accusations with these thoughts. I’m merely sharing a question that I’ve found difficult to answer personally as a novelist. I want to be “real” without being offensive, but it’s not always possible to be both. Sometimes speaking the truth takes the courage to kick people in the pants; whether listeners will be offended is irrelevant. So these values I hold as a writer live in imperfect tension. But if I ever stop being aware of that tension, I think my words will lose their integrity.
How do you hold onto integrity when you write?