I am a Writer and I have to write about what I need to write about. If I try to hide what I need to write about- and write about something else, well then- I am not doing my job. I am often hunted by my stories (which are nothing more than my past experiences colored in) and if I do not exorcise them by writing about them – I am doomed to repeat them. Whether my experience involves infidelity, deceit, fear of failure, self doubt, victimization, arrogance, self obsession or self flagellation- I must put it down on the page with the utmost certainty that speaking the truth is what writing is for.
The only thing that I expect my readers to demand of me is the truth. It is my job to come forth and claim the story even though I know that most people (including myself) I write about will not approve. I would be lying if I said that I am never tempted to fictionalizing endings, middles and beginnings. Sometimes I do. But for me life is fiction and like Oscar Wilde said, “the Writer of fiction just makes ordinary life a little bit more interesting for the rest of us.”
Guilt, pressure, isolation, backaches, alcohol addiction and death threats aside- being a Writer does have its plus sides. Through the process of writing I often find things out about myself that I did not know. Even though telling the truth is what compels me to write, so does telling lies. In the stories that I make up about myself there is often more truth than in the stories that I do not fictionalize. Within the make believe I find layered aspects of the person that I try hard not to be. My shadow comes out into the light of day and for a short period of time, I am familiar with who I really am. There is some emotional distance between myself and the story that I am trying to tell- and it is within the space of this distance that I can see every aspect of me.
Does a Writer owe it to his family and friends to keep quite if he/she finds out things that are unsavory and uncanny? I am not interested in writing simply to assuage my guilt. Instead, I would like to loose it. It is the unsavory and the uncanny that create the lyrical intensity within my mind that only an experimental opera, novel or film could begin to approach. If I was to keep quiet, than what would I have to say? I am merely reporting back all the absurdities that I see within me and you. This is why the whole process of being a writer is long and twisting and sometimes it reminds me of wondering around the Kafkaesque streets of Barcelona where I was always in awe and lost and not a single person spoke my language.