Monday, May 4, 2009

Dare to Say What Others Can't

Today, I read a fascinating article on my favorite fitness blog,, that got me thinking.

It basically said that telling others the things you are ashamed of, or that are difficult for you to deal with, gives you power over those those same things.

Shame thrives on being kept secret. When you talk about the dark moments, you suddenly realize that you're not alone, and that others share them, too.
This made me think about writing because one of my favorite writing quotes is "The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say." --Anais Nin

We have the freedom in our stories to talk about the shameful thoughts we all have, or relive experiences that are difficult to deal with in real life. I feel like this is freeing for both myself and the reader.

I heard a woman read from her book (I, of course, forget who) and relay a story of dropping soup she made for a church function into a gutter, and for a single moment, thinking about scooping it back into the tourine. No one would know, right?

Well, when she read that passage we all laughed because we got it. We've all experienced those same awful inner moments where we realize that maybe we're not good people. When we read about it, we're free to admit it, and realize it's not so different after all.

We're all just human, and these things are part of the experience.

What do you guys think? As writers, or readers, do you find it helpful to throw light onto those darker moments?


Windsong said...

I think that's one of the wonderful things about stories and books--they enable us to not only see all the different sides of humanity, but allow us to deal with them.

Scott said...

I love the quote - "The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say." --Anais Nin

A friend once asked me, after reading some of my writing, "How much of you is in Jared (my main character)?" My response - there's something of me in all of my characters. In the particular manuscript she read, there were a number of different characters - Jared, Nick, Etc., Etc. I told her that some of the characters were the people I wanted to be. WHAT??? Seriously, I put traits into those characters that I didn't have myself. I had the characters do things that I only thought about doing. I guess that's the best part of writing. My characters do/say all the things I usually don't have the nerve to say/do. Go figure.


Rebecca Knight said...

Welcome, Scott! :) Wow, I completely do that, too. There is almost nothing more cathartic than writing a good fight scene and letting your characters let loose with the zingers you think of hours later when you're lying in bed, and not in the moment.

My characters are usually as brave as I'd like to be, too. We can dream, right? ;)