Wednesday, May 31, 2017
…On Poetry and Fiction – “Truths or Lies”
Did you ever struggle with having to tell someone the truth about something, or end up having to actually lie about it? Exaggerating the facts a bit? Or, perhaps, intentionally omitting some details for personal reasons? If so, did you lie to prevent hurting someone? Did you lie to avoid jeopardizing a relationship? Did you do it for selfish reasons? Did you do it for vanity? Did you do it for love? Did your ego get in the way? Did you do it to cause trouble? Did you do it because you wanted to hurt someone? Did you do it because you wanted to protect someone? Did you do it just to save face? Whatever the reason, it can be a stressful, destructive, time-consuming, thought-provoking, endless, guilt-ridden, personal conflict to endure. Truths or lies, they are a mix of emotions that will torment you before, during and after the encounter. In the end, it will become one heck of a story to recall as you relive, over and over again, the anxiety and pain that comes along with it.
Telling the truth, on the other hand, can prove to be the most admirable thing to do; yet it can also be the most embarrassing thing to do. It can open up your personal life to strangers, friends and family; reveal secrets you wanted to keep to yourself; show people the most intimate parts of who you really are; and just make you feel so vulnerable. It can hurt you, or someone else. Yes, the truth has consequences too - But, as indicated above, telling a lie can hurt you or someone you care about so much more, even though your intentions may be to protect someone dear to you, or to protect yourself. It can show a side of you that is not very pretty. In the end, if the truth does come out, and it usually does, people will look at you with “new eyes”. They may no longer see you as the wonderful person you once were, or the honest and trusting friend you once were. It may not even be your fault. Sometimes we lie for the good. However, you may lose friends and/or family members over a lie. Lies create havoc and misunderstandings in all of our relationships. Lies can cause irreparable damage. Unfortunately, that’s life - and choosing to tell someone the truth or tell someone a lie is an individual choice that comes with a whole set of personal reasons (valid or invalid) and personal consequences. Who are we to judge. No one is exempt from this. So, do we tell the truth or tell a lie? It’s your life, you decide.
However, when it comes to writing poetry and/or fiction, we have to make that same individual choice. Do we tell the truth to our readers through our writing, and risk opening ourselves up to the world as if we were naked. Ugh! - Or do we lie somewhat and hold back so we don’t expose all of who we are to our readers. Ugh again! The question is, do we show our readers honesty by writing truths, or do we cheat our readers by holding back and putting half-truths and lies out there? In my opinion, the best writing is raw, natural, honest, bare, accurate, down-to-earth, open, “uninhibited emotional writing” from the heart; not writing that we need to bargain about in our own minds because of our timidity, as we struggle to get our poems/fiction out there through half-truths, exaggerations and lies. You see, a little bit of ourselves and our lives must go into our poetry and fiction in order to make it real and allow it to thrive and live in the minds and hearts of our faithful readers. They deserve that. They deserve truths, not lies; and as writers, it is our responsibility to give that to our readers. That is the only way to maintain a strong relationship with them and spare them any literary havoc, confusion, disappointment and/or misunderstandings. We need our readers to trust us and to always want to come back for more. So, again…do we tell the truth, or do we lie when we write?
When writing poetry and or fiction, tell your readers what makes you happy, sad, embarrassed, jealous, hurtful, mad, dangerous, loving, romantic. Tell them what you do, how you act, and what you feel, think and say that drives you to emotional heights of splendor, or takes you to the depths of hell. Let them see through your eyes, feel through your heart, think through your mind. Let them taste that wine from your lips that soothes you when you’re weak and troubled – and also makes you terribly drunk. Let them feel that warm shower that caresses your naked, tired body - then invite them in to join you. Take them on your romantic escapades and let them engage in the fear, danger and evil that lurks in your world; let them experience love, hate, tears, hope, prayer, God, family, loss, gain – and best of all, let them learn who you are through honest writing. Take your readers by the hand and lead them on your journey. A journey they have much anticipated before reading your poetry and/or fiction, but have now joyfully embraced during and after the greatest “read” they have ever known. They will forever remember the experience. They will yearn for more.
Thanks to you, the “honest”writer, the world of reading will become a much more livable place; a magical place, somewhere in time and space, that will pluck your readers out of their world and settle them into yours. They will sing and dance through your music, and live and love through your heart. They will exist in a new universe, a new dimension, and a new realm of endless possibilities. “The good, the bad and the ugly” will take on new meaning as your writing exposes bare truths that will leave them in awe. You will have kidnapped the world, and your captivated readers will love you for it! They will remember your name. They will know who you are! They will invite you into their homes! You will always have a place on their favorite bookshelf, living amongst other great writers, eager to tell stories through “uninhibited emotional” writing.