Friday, May 27, 2005

Friends And Family Plan For Loud-Mouthed Writers

Back on the subject of speaking one's mind on a blog. Speaking one's mind in your writing. Speaking one's mind in general.

Writers have a bad case of wanting to tell the world (flawed) about their world (perfect).

I've always thought the title "The World According To Garp" was a perfect title for a book about a writer, because this is exactly what writers are all about. They are continuously trying to show the WORLD ACCORDING TO THEM, because this crappy reality known as "the world" really doesn't cut it for them.

But here's the rub. Writers, last I checked, are unfortunately doomed to live in "the world" and have friends and families who are not so hot on them writing about them, writing about their shortcomings, writing about the idiotic things friends and family members of writers often do.

The natural tension between the writer's mantra of "Write What You Know" and the real world not being so keen on that, is hard to fight some days.

So as a writer, you find, you can spend a glorious Friday afternoon writing about your friend's and families' many charming qualities, but also their many flaws, thinly veiled in fiction, only to find yourself without a lot of dinner invitations on Friday night.

I remember blogging something about the only good thing about my mom and dad both having passed away was that I could write about my family a lot more openly, not worrying about hurting their feelings any more, or shocking them. Within about an hour, I'd received an email from my older brother warning me against writing charming and witty and biting things about "the family." Thanks, bro.

Writers answer to a higher authority -- telling the truth as accurately as possible when describing their world -- which their friends and family members would like them to back away from often enough.

The biggest irony is how often someone close to you wants and expects you to write about them, dropping big hints, and when you do, instead of sending you a lovely hand-written thank-you note for describing them so accurately, might prefer to claw your eyes out, but surely would settle for smashing your pencil, pen or computer keyboard over your head.

A writer will walk a path littered with crumpled pages, broken pencils, broken marriages, angry aunts, ungrateful uncles, furious friends and new lovers, hoping to make it into that next sex scene. At a point, there is no going back. The truth will be laid bare.