The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Truth Avoidance Remission

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This is the third time I’ve written about that GDMF piece of creative nonfiction that has been weighing on me the last few months.  Truth be told, it’s been the last few years, since the episode upon which the writing is built happened two years ago.  I gave myself permission to get back to writing nonfiction about myself, and then wrestled and wrestled with the writing until I forced myself to kick the piece off by telling a rather direct piece of truth.  I thought that would solve my problems.  I was wrong.

I spent a good deal of time over vacation slogging through drafts nine and ten, and got to the point that the only thing left to write in the piece was even more truth about who I was and what I was doing at the time of the story.  That had to be written so I could complete the piece and send it off to a few friends to review.  It wasn’t easy.  I have a student right now going through pretty much the same thing.  He’s writing about a profound defeat he experienced at the elite level in his sport of choice–a defeat that he’s going to have to live with for the next year, until he has one last season to set things right.  That’s a helluva long time for anybody, especially a teenager.  I told him that the only way to make his story work to its fullest potential is to tell the truth.  The absolute, drop-dead truth.  I suspect he’s going to get to the point where he says what has to be said:  “I wasn’t good enough, and everything I’ve led myself to believe over the course of the last year was false.”  There are more eloquent ways to say it, but for the purposes of using that example here, that wording will do.  I told him it’s going to be like birthing a football sideways.  That’s a lot for anybody to announce, and not just to your friends at the local bar or walking down the hall to the cafeteria.  Writing it down is even more difficult because then it stops being words in space and starts being actual text that other people will read and from which they will draw their own conclusions.

This is good all around.  I’ve been there and might be able to shove him in the right direction.  I’m glad I’ve been there, if only because it makes me a better teacher of creative writing.  I’m careful to never ask my young writers to do something that I can’t do or wouldn’t do with my writing, so I can be honest with them, and with him in particular.

None of this helps me manage the overall issue that has dogged me throughout writing this piece:  Who Cares?  The process of writing the story has been enriching to me as a writer, and it has definitely help me cast the episode in a fair and proper light in my mind, but I’m entering it into a contest next month and if that doesn’t work out I’m still going to work to find a home for it.  If that doesn’t work, then has this been successful?  No.  I want to get it published, and don’t  want to be stung again with the realization my ego got in the way of the writing, and that the story is not as good or as interesting as I thought it would be, or that nobody cares about it.

I don’t have these problems when I write fiction.  I’m a step removed from the story, though still working just as hard to make everything in it work and to make it tell a truth (the truth applies to me, a truth means the world outside of me).  Regardless, I’ve taken my story as far as I can and will have to wait for what my peers have to say before I send it off.  If it doesn’t work out as I would like, what am I going to do?  What can I do?  Keep writing.  Which is what I was going to do anyhow.  Already started a new story, in fact.


Written by seeker70

April 14, 2013 at 11:15 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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