Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Writer's Dilemma

Writing is fraught with danger.

I used to think I could write whatever I pleased, and rip out my heart in the process. It wasn't a destructive act, quite the opposite: I felt it to be the most creative expression I was capable of. However, in the course of saying exactly what I think--which involves revealing myself in the most intimate of ways--I have offended, provoked, angered and disappointed members of my family, my friends, and even people with whom I work. Of course, that was not my intention; I was simply finding my way of relating to the world around me, of documenting my reactions to the people who confuse or stagger me. I certainly never anticipated the reactions to some of my posts; sometimes it appears that I have led my (small) audience astray, since they have no context for understanding me; they are ignorant of my history and my peculiar eccentricities.

There are writings of mine that involve others and invade--inadvertently--their privacy. I don't know why I feel no need to protect myself from others, or why it seems OK to me to discuss date rape in a public forum, or any other number of topics that most readers would consider wildly inappropriate. I have always suffered from a total lack of self-editing. Is it a violent reaction to incomprehensible situations? Is it rebellion against having to show self control all day long at work? Is it a way to work through pain and disappointment? Is it an attempt at self-integration, at the kind of introspection that leads to liberation?

It is all of those, and more. I have learned, though, that I hurt people with my analysis of the human condition, with my willingness to expose myself to the public. Others are affected, dragged in when they don't wish to be, and so I have to change how I approach the public forum of the Internet. My (tiny) readership has misinterpreted my intentions, my feelings and my expressions of angst. Not everyone, of course, some people get it immediately and appreciate it for what it is. But I don't want family or friends to feel stung or shocked by what I reveal. I always thought revelation of one's heart and soul was the best way to define and refine who I am; now I realize that all I accomplish is discord and confusion.

So, from this point forward, I will try to do what has been asked of me by those I love: practice a little self-censorship. Stop burrowing under the skin of those who love me, cease and desist the ruthless personal revelations, and try to stick to less controversial topics. This new direction saddens me a bit, but I don't wish to trample on the privacy and anonymity of the people that matter to me.

I don't know how this will look and feel for me, but I will find out. My ex used to tell me that "I had absolutely no mystery" about me. He did not enjoy my transparency. I will attempt to learn the art of self preservation. I hope I have something interesting to say. Stay tuned.