Today’s 3-part #bgsd text message from Kelly Sue DeConnick:
Joan Didion says writing is “an aggressive, even a hostile act.”
M. Williamson says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
Today I’m thinking about how those ideas dance together in my head.
I was going to say “I don’t feel that writing is necessarily aggressive or hostile!” And then I realized how many times I’ve edited my writing — sometimes in small ways — because I didn’t want to cause pain. Recently, I scraped a comment out of my character’s mouth because a close family member might feel hurt if she read it.
And this is fiction, where I could (if I chose) sanctimoniously say “Oh, no! It’s just a story!” as a defense.
Now, it’s true that I may be imbuing my words with more power than they actually have. The scribblings of one little writer don’t amount to a hill of beans, etc. But I also know that all good stories have truth in them, and truth is sometimes painful — if not to you, then to someone you love.
As a writer, sometimes you have to choose how much pain you want to dish out.