Why do I need to explain my writing?

Don’t publish that, Gheed! 

It’s too direct. Too specific.

This bothers me. I write about romance, life and home because they mean so much to me that I want to offer them a place to live on forever.

I don’t write to feed people’s egos, or to send signals. I don’t write to spill my feelings out, only for people to boast about having an article written about them. I certainly don’t write to share my experiences with a bigger literary world, only for my work to be belittled and discredited.

This isn’t about me or you. This is about the art itself.

Can’t you move on without writing about it?

I may have moved on, years ago. But my perspective continues to change and take different turns. Out of habit, I will write: to create art, and inspire. Not to prove that I am such a great writer, or that the other person had such a great impact on my life, but simply to write.

Once, I wrote an entire story about a conversation I had with someone I never saw again. I wrote about what could’ve been, and the way he looked at me, and what he did with his hands, and how ironed his clothes were. I may have overthought it and his voice may not have sounded the way I describe it in the story, but it doesn’t matter. It was never about him or about me. It was about the craft.

As a young female writer, it feels disheartening to have to take back the work that I do, lock it in the drawer and never write about people again for fear of scarring my reputation and propelling gossip. I’ve considered ghostwriting before because the concept of keeping all my thoughts hidden in the confines of my room frustrates me so much. Still, losing ownership of my work frustrates me even more. I cannot imagine picking out words, one by one, slowly and carefully only to have them denied because of someone else’s judgment.

Throughout my life, I’ve read the works of French authors like Hugo and Camus; raw poetry and exchanged letters; to discover what it means to write in a more personal tone and how to find my own writing style. I didn’t scavenge the bookstore for a chance to attack those writers and find something wrong with what they wrote, to assume the worst about them. I sat down to appreciate their art, their honesty and their willingness to share with the world.

Ultimately, it is my responsibility to protect the identity of the people I describe in my writings. But it is also their responsibility to respect my craft as an artist. It is a two-way relationship. I am an artist before being someone in their lives, before being someone who wrote about them.

The writing is always about what comes out of the relationship; about the words, the lessons and the final taste. There is nothing to be prideful about. I didn’t write the piece because of that other person, whoever they may be. I wrote the piece because of that voice in the background as I cross busy streets, that voice that hides in the back of my mind as I send out emails and knocks on my door as I dream about romance, life and home.

I don’t need to sacrifice my reputation to earn credit for my hard work and raw writing. I don’t need to defend myself, to explain my writing, because this is what I do. I write. This is the type of art I produce.

I guess this is the cost of being a writer. You live with the frustration of writing pieces you’ve never published, and having to explain those pieces you have.

And I guess, too, that this is the cost of knowing a writer. You never know how they may remember you, but they do.

Originally posted 2023-06-15 15:27:06.