I think sometimes writing is especially hard because you want to say things that you’re not sure anyone else wants to hear. And I don’t mean wondering things like, “maybe people don’t care about my dead cat…” or “maybe people aren’t interested in hearing me complain about how horrible my life is right now…” (shocker there). No, what I’m talking about are small, snapshot instances, the fleeting, nitty-gritty details that somehow manage to make our lives profound.
It’s that moment when you realize your mother really did know what she was talking about when she told you growing up is hard.
Or that instant you finally understand something somebody said to you when you were eight.
Or that amazing epiphany when you get the “perfect” idea for something.
Or the lovely moment when you realize someone is going to become a new close friend.
Feeding readers the stories behind each of these situations feels wrong somehow… like we’re pulling the screen of privacy a little too far aside. Or like we’ve finally crossed the line between putting ourselves into our writing, and becoming the writing.
Because in some ways, it’s good to “become” your writing – at least, in the sense that you put some of yourself into every piece that you write. But here’s the question: how far do you go? How far can you go? Where is that line?
It’s so irresistible – that urge to tell someone every detail of an experience you’re passionate about. It’s an urge that stems from a desire to share a special moment with someone who is also willing to share those moments with you. But can we ever successfully project those desires onto our readers? I mean, can we ever write that kind of piece successfully, without regrets?
I think I’m going to argue (for the most part, anyway) no. Because no matter how many of our readers might know us personally, no matter how much our readers may enjoy our writing, and no matter how comfortable we may feel exposing our private lives to complete strangers, the fact still remains: some moments are all the sweeter savored in silence.