Friday, July 28, 2006

Writing Without a Net

It takes courage to be a writer, and not just in the "how will I pay the bills?" kind of way. I mean if you want your words to have any kind of substance, you have to be actively bold enough to delve into places a lot of people would rather leave unexamined.

I've recently gone back to working on a book about my wedding -- it's a humorous take on the whole thing called Let Them Eat Cake: Tales of a Queer Girl in the "Straight/Lace" World of Weddings. Now, at risk of ruining the plot for you, the wedding took months of planning, the day itself was amazing, and we're still happily together. However, there was also serious family drama: that weekend would be the last time my mom ever talked to me before she died. No surprise, then, that I stalled on the chapter where she threatened to leave five minutes before the ceremony.

As a writer, I have three options: (1) skirt this central fact about what took place, (2) abandon the project all together, or (3) write my way through the pain. This is nonfiction, so Door #1 wouldn't feel right. By letting the book languish, though, I've effectively been going with Door #2.

So instead, I'm turning the knob on Door #3. No matter how difficult the truth is to get down on the page, it's the only way to get to the other side.


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