The act of writing is fascinating. With words we can strip experiences down to their bare bones truth. Or, we can dress up our reality to be almost unrecognizable. The truth quotient? Sometimes even the writer cannot accurately measure it.
In our stories, we are selective with details. What do we choose to leave out? What doesn’t make the cut? What do we emphasize? How does this impact our truth?
Where do we spin things away from what really happened? No matter what the intentions, we do it. To highlight something essential. To add drama. To protect privacy. When we are not brave.
Sometimes we write around what we should not share. We leave hints that likely, only we, ourselves could figure out. Other times, we nudge things a little closer to actually being exposed. But, because we are so very precise in what we do and don’t say, we are still playing it safe.
There are stories that unravel almost exactly as they occurred. Simply changing a defining detail, leaving out a name, not identifying a gender and we keep our subject hidden. If we so choose. Sometimes, there is no reason to be secretive.
Some stories keep rising to the surface, asking to be told. Some emotions can only be soothed when we tell their story. How can we reconcile this with what is permitted? The truths with free passes are often quite quiet. The truths that must not be shared wail and whine.
When we write daily, it is not about not enough choices, it is about too many. Immediately, many are eliminated because they are not to be shared. Or they are not ready. Or we misunderstand them. We don’t yet know the words.
I have particular truths that are desperate to be released. They are the stories that haunt me. I would like to literally fasten them to the page and set them free. No, that is not true. I would like to walk away and set myself free.
I long to write them with the truth quotient turned up high.
But I don’t yet dare.
I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.
Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.