Filters and Barriers

10 Aug

The most outrageous things can happen to a character in a novel.  They can smoke pot, indulge in hookers, choke someone with their bare hands.  The more eccentric and controversial, the better.  And this all happens at a comfortable distance, filtered through fiction.  I’m just reporting the action, not passing judgement on the character’s behaviour.  That job is for the reader.

But it’s something else to write about yourself.  Suddenly that filter, that barrier, comes down.  And for someone who prefers to be the interviewer rather than the interviewed, it leaves me rather tongue-tied sometimes.  This is what blogging feels like – what’s up there is just pure me.  I can no longer rely on my characters to get me through the day – it’s my opinion, my voice.  Stage fright sets in quickly.

When I sent a short piece to a writer friend of mine, she didn’t recognize it as non-fiction because she’s accustomed to me writing in the first person.  She suggested I post the piece on my blog.  I responded with a very definitive: But that would be like running around naked in a mall parking lot on Boxing Day!   Cold and exposing.

Some of my favourite books are written in the first person.  The stories feel intimate, like listening to a close friend talk.  It becomes even more immediate when the story is non-fiction.  Suddenly what’s at stake is real.  I applaud the candour and honesty of writers like Jon Krakauer and Joe Simpson, who told their personal survival stories and lived with the fall-out.  That takes courage of a special kind.

So to honour that motto of mine – do something every day that scares you –  I will post that personal piece of mine, the piece that made me realize how filters and barriers affect all of us, colour everything we see.  Pass or fail – I’ll have to live with the fall-out.  Wish me luck.


8 Responses to “Filters and Barriers”

  1. CDNWMN August 11, 2011 at 10:07 AM #

    Exposing our soul is never easy, but very cleansing. Be bold! 🙂

  2. Anne Michaud August 11, 2011 at 11:28 AM #

    I think I know which piece you’re talking about – it is beautiful and true and you should be very proud of it!

  3. Lisa Forget August 11, 2011 at 7:09 PM #

    I hope you plan to post your piece here, as I look forward to the opportunity of experiencing it!

    🙂 Lisa

  4. Angela Addams August 11, 2011 at 7:20 PM #

    Oh do post it – I’d love to read it!

    I do enjoy reading first person and apparently, I like writing it too! I agree with what you’re saying – it is a lot more intimate and allows the reader to get totally involved with the characters.

  5. Emma Cunningham August 11, 2011 at 7:35 PM #

    I definitely think doing this can strengthen you as a writer.

  6. Gareth August 12, 2011 at 4:34 AM #

    I love the brutal honesty here, its baring the inner most part of yourself that we like to keep hidden and you’re right, its akin to doing something that you wouldn’t feel comfortable with at times.

    You’ve got the nerve, we know that as you’ve written the piece, few are strong enough to expose thier inner most feelings so just go the extra few steps and post, you’ll find that it not only feels good but helps you get some of those demons out.

  7. Patricia Hollett August 14, 2011 at 11:34 PM #

    Putting yourself out there and baring your soul is tough, but this was an honest post about how hard it is to do that, and we know that feeling. Its hard to do, but since we’re all friends and collegues, no one will judge. At least they shouldn’t. A brave person does what you’re doing… keep writing, keep telling us the truth and we’ll listen and stand by you. A good blog Dianne. 🙂

  8. jdwaye August 18, 2011 at 9:36 AM #

    Thanks for the support, everyone. I love my OWG!

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