A breach of faith. An abandonment of a child. How to write about this? Should we write about it? Risk-taking in writing comes up again and again at our Women's Writing Circle. Is it harmful or can it produce positive results?
I can only speak for myself. The writer's job is to reveal the disturbing. The writer's job is to write the factual and the emotional truth. While the journey is fraught with landmines, how uplifting it is once they are diffused! Taking a risk is necessary in order to grow. Taking the plunge and deciding to publish Again in a Heartbeat - thereby revealing myself publicly - was terrifying. My fear and the reality of what came after were worlds apart. It ended up as a river dancing with sunlight on a spring day.
Women writing memoir reveal themselves publicly - often for the first time. It feels uncomfortable, but not impossible. Harder is revealing others - a parent, a sibling, a husband or wife. We were taught to remain silent. It feels like a betrayal to reveal their flaws. Yet through the writing we are finding our unfiltered voice.
The guilt (self-reproach) overwhelms. We write something . . . a little portrait, a poem for our eyes only. We hide it. Exposing the truth in the light of day is unimaginable. It stays in the closet.
Revealing the "ugly" side of ourselves and others is heading onto rocky shoals. Stop for a moment and think how it also steers toward the revealing and provocative.
A prompt for our February 11 read-around: Write a character study of a person who regrets not taking a risk. How did the failure to take that risk change his or her life? (You might want to write it as a narrative as if that person is talking to you.)
Or, since February 14th is so close, this prompt: "A box of Valentine's."
(Originally, I had offered as a prompt, an empty box of Valentine's; but it may have been a little too hard to conceptualize how to write about this; if you want to, tho, please do.)
For information about our read-around: http://www.susanweidener.com/p/circle-read-arounds.html
As always, please bring what your heart and pen inspire. We had the largest group ever last month at our read-around at Wellington Square. Why don't you join us?