Monday, October 27, 2008

I cannot write to please other people

When I first envisioned my blog, I thought it would be a wonderful place to document the lively antics of my children, and where I could describe the parenting challenges that are around every bend in the road. For a while, that worked. And it still works, but it also morphed into something else. Sometimes I write poetry. I am known to curse and to occasionally express thoughts that are sexually provocative. I am passionate about many things. All of which I love to write about, including politics. There have been moments in time, where I questioned the fulfillment of being a stay-at-home mom, and wondered where my "self" had gone. Mothering is bloody hard work, and there are extreme highs and lows, as well as lots of days in-between in which you can feel as if you are flat lining. Much of the time I am blessed with positive feelings about my life. Yet, how boring and unnatural would our lives be if we only expressed ourselves in tidy, neat splashes of yellow and pink. I like to color outside the lines of propriety.

All of this is me, and I don't know how to be any different. Nor, do I want to. One of the lovely things about getting older is that you feel a certain freedom to be yourself. Even if people don't like you or what you write. Perhaps your audience thinks they know you, and you write something that appals them. It was not your intent. But, should you then change your writing to suit your audience? To avoid making people uncomfortable? I don't think so. Everyone has their own unique voice and that is what draws us in, isn't it?

If I spend too much time worrying about whether people will like what I write, or whether I will offend someone with a particular subject, I would never be able to write here at all. The page would remain blank, and I would be living in fear.

I made a deal with myself when I created this space. The deal is this... I don't want to self-censor. I have to be authentic. I cannot write to please other people. That is not why I am here. Nor do I take pleasure in disgusting anyone. What I do love is the sight of the naked page, the feel of the keyboard under my fingertips, and catching the words as they free fall into sentences.

Erica Jong says it best:

As a writer, we need permission to avoid being the good girl, to go against societal brainwashing and the inner censorship we impose on ourselves.

The inner self of a writer, the self destined to live beyond the flesh, is not always visible in the writer's daily life. But the writer's true voice, once discovered, is congruent with the writer's soul. This voice is what all writers seek, and a very few find - to raise a cry that is integral with one's soul.

Here is the paradox of writing. You can't hide behind words. What and who you are shines forth on every page - whether you pretend objectivity or not. You strip down to the essential self.

***Painting courtesy of Google images

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  1. We want your words, unvarnished or polished or naked or rough. They're all beautiful.

    (And I hope there's no one who has caused you to think otherwise? Because I will totally kick their arse...)

  2. I think you can do nothing less than write what is in your heart with all the honesty that you care to share with others. Otherwise, what you write wouldn't ring so true....that said, I also understand those occasional thoughts of 'what will others think of me if I write this?'....or am I the only one plagued by that particular insecurity?!

  3. I agree and I agree that it's so hard in this medium.

    I have no segue for this off topic question but what search terms did you use to find that beautiful painting?

  4. Did that political talk cause you grief?

    You've piqued my curiosity.

    (I've always loved Erica Jong, and her willingness to be brave. I love it in you too.)

  5. "But, should you then change your writing to suit your audience? To avoid making people uncomfortable?" Clearly you have never written network TV. But that's why we love you. See you Nov. 7th.

  6. Bravo -- and -- go for it!

    (What brought this on?)

    I am definately sympatico with your feelings on being a mom. The highs, the lows, but mostly the flatlining of it all. I don't do well at all with flatlining. I kinda start to pull my hair out. Its good to know I'm not the only mom who isn't enthralled every second of every minute of mommyhood. So feel free to elaborate on that in your blogging.

  7. And this is why we like Motherscribe so much!

  8. Erica Jong is the perfect woman for you to quote. We would expect nothing less than your truth.

    Work it.

    (And thank you)

  9. Your authenticity comes through in your writing... and it draws people in!

    You go, girl!

  10. I'm with Jen H. Her and I will kick some complaining people's butts. We can take 'em!

    Seriously, I am struggling with a certain censoring issue myself. To brag, or not to brag, that is the question. What's your opinion on that one?

  11. Yep, sign me up with the other Jens for some kicking butt and taking names. No self-censor. It's your blog. If someone doesn't like what you write, they can go elsewhere. It's just like TV. You don't HAVE to turn the thing on.

    And Jen, go ahead and brag. Tell them I made you.

  12. I understand your pain! My FIL hasn't spoken directly to me in a year now over my writing something on MY blog before HIS son bothered to tell him about it.

  13. I haven't examined my feelings towards this topic in depth, but you've expressed them perfectly.

  14. You're exactly right. Exactly, exactly right.

  15. you're so right. and i think sometimes we misjudge our readers a bit when we assume they will be offended by something. you wouldn't believe how worried i was when i posted my blog last night, i was sure people would give me grief after revealing myself as a shopping cart villain. but i underestimated my readership.

  16. Your words are more important than other people's thoughts dipped in your handwriting. We want you: the good, the bad, the indifferent.

  17. Bravo, bravo, fucking bravo! Let the dissenters put it all in their pipes and smoke away.

    These are YOUR hallowed pages that we are lucky to visit. Just my two cents.

  18. amen! i'm finding such a challenge saying what i need to say. you are inspiring!

  19. I totally absolutely agree :)

    The blog is you--when you censor your work, you are no longer being true to you and the blog is not really you anymore :)

  20. Yo! Way to go girl! I wrote my 'confession' too some time back, about this issue and I am all in with you! *clap clap clap*

    its true, it comes with maturity, I'll rather put it that way, instead of saying, "it comes with age" *laugh* I'm only 31 but I'm thinking like a forty...hmmmm... *laugh*

  21. This is the best part of blog writing, you can write what you like. Not everyone has to like it, it is for you. But sometimes I find that I get caught up thinking about who is reading and I freeze. Especially because I normally do not even edit for spelling and grammar, once I start to edit I start to question myself and my writing and I don't post.
    I think you are a beautiful writer and a joy to read no matter what your subject. I read plenty of blogs by people with completely different view points than I, simply because I enjoy them as people and enjoy the neurons they make fire in my brain!


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