15 September 2015
An early morning thought:
Anyone can write a story about somebody about to kill themselves, but it takes a certain sort of bravery to write that you are about to kill yourself.
I wrote this as I was examining my switch from prose to personal accounts as I continue my writing abroad. In this slightly drastic example (ok, so suicide was featured heavily in my prose writing days of yore, my writing group was just as uneasy as you, perhaps, are now), I simply mean that it can be scary to put out into the world your feelings as felt and experienced by yourself. When the piece is a fictional story, it all gets much simpler:
No, no – I wasn’t feeling lonely and lost in Tel Aviv, that was the character, Miriam, who is purely made up, of course!
And yet, when you start to add in I-s and Me-s and Mine-s, it gets a bit more complicated. Suddenly, anybody who has read the piece can react to me as they reacted to the piece – responses that can range from encouragement to disbelief to love to strong dislike and beyond. It is scary to click the post button and not know what kind of reaction you will receive on the other side of our world wide web. But I forge onward, convinced that there is a certain weight of importance on giving a twinge of humanity to the lucky souls we all view in their Instagram-tinted pictures, exploring caves or hiking trails or seeing beauty or eating divinely.
It can be easy to forget that there is a heart in that person on the mountain with the scene of godlike serenity set innocently behind them. (I seem to be forgetting that just now, as my green monster of envy raises its ugly head with a snorting inquiry). A heart that has recently felt fear and the unknown and change and worry and pure joy and uncertainty and love and hate and — an infinite amount of incompatible emotions all rolled into one perfectly confused person featured in one perfectly filtered picture. And they put on some perfectly ambiguous caption like, perhaps:
Because it will take them awhile to figure out what they really want to say beneath this captured image of an infinitely mystifying time.
So that is why I have stopped writing fake stories about people who are confused or completely happy or scared or in love or ambivalent or worried or all of the above plus a couple more obscure emotions. Because, for me and right now, telling my stories from my perspective with my fluttering emotions is what seems important. To remind both myself and others that we all have the same sorts of feelings no matter which heavenly or harrowing backdrop we find ourselves posing in front of.
Each day has a story that is sometimes incompatible with the ones our pictures tell. And if a picture says a thousand words, I feel the need to follow up with another thousand of my own to clear up any confusion.
Shoot, this one’s only 529.
Well, I think you get the picture.