Yesterday’s self-assigned creative writing project was a 1000-word story about something that really happened in my life. The story is not one I’d post here, but it’s funny and creepy in turns. It’s about fear, and the crazy things people will do to regain a sense of security. We do crazy things to jolt ourselves back into the world, to diffuse fear, to feel alive, to get angry about something harmless when we really have something to be angry about.
I realized that this story was easier to write than fiction. When I shared it with a small group of girlfriends, I realized it was also easier to give up in the world to let other people read.
One of those friends asked me why I thought this was the case for me. Here’s my answer:
“Because truth is just that. It’s me. It’s my story. I am not ashamed of who I am or what I’ve done, because I know that in that moment, it was what I needed to do.”
I can own that I’m an imperfect being, and that “the best I can do” is often not the best society would expect of me. I know that I can be in a bad place emotionally, mentally, and do really crazy things. I can accept that about myself, and I can hold those crazy memories compassionately, and see why I did the things I did.
It’s easier to be honest about my actions than it is to lay bare my thoughts.
My fiction, on the other hand, is wholly from inside me, and it’s from a different place than “the best I can do” department. Conflict rises from the worst I can do. Fiction rises from my secret fears, from my unspoken desires. These are things I’m afraid to face in myself, let alone let someone else see it.
I write into pain. I write into the darkness. I write into the light and the hope. But they are left for the reader to interpret, not for me to live and choose to act upon.