First of all I am delighted to say this is my 100th post! When I started this blog my main goal was to share my writing, and have a regular deadline to stick to so I was creating something every week. I am proud of everything I have put up here, the good, the ‘in need of more editing’ and the rushed. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read, like and comment, it is greatly appreciated.
Week 40 was a question of poetry
This week brought me poetry. On a recommendation (thanks Fiona!) I got two books ‘The Stag’s Leap’ by Sharon Olds & ‘Rapture’ by Carol Ann Duffy, both T.S. Elliot Prize winners and both baring their soul for their art. Their collections revolve around love, the first the struggle to cope with the break-up of a long marriage, the other a meditation on her experience of love. Both are haunting and beautiful, and while reading I contemplated how much of your own life you should share in your writing, and if you do should it be obvious that it is your life?
When I write personal pieces that reflect on my own experiences I am conscious of the people involved in them. There are feelings to consider, particularly if you are revealing a difficult experience that involves others. Should you consider your family/partner/friend’s feelings, or is that just censoring your own work out of fear? There are pieces I have written that are kept away from sight, hidden not through shame, but an anxiety over how they will be received by certain people. In that case should the tactic be to dress it up as a fictitious piece with no ownership, but a stand alone piece that speaks for itself?
Both these women used their experiences to enlighten and also perhaps as a cathartic process that enabled the feelings to be laid to rest piece by piece. I admire them for their bravery, particularly Sharon Olds, as hers was a loss greatly felt, laid bare. But I question if it’s something I could or perhaps even should do. Writing can be a somewhat exploitative endeavour, as it is difficult to ignore a wonderful turn of phrase or a possible story idea based on someone’s life. But as writers do we not have some responsibility to be careful about what we share, or at least conscious of the other person? Is there a point when you just need to put it away in a drawer no matter how wonderful its writing potential?
If you have any thoughts on this I would love to hear them.