“For it would seem – her case proved it – that we write, not with the fingers, but with the whole person. The nerve which controls the pen winds itself about every fibre of our being, threads the heart, pierces the liver.”
— Virginia Woolf
My son’s funny when he lies. I can always tell. It happened not long ago. I asked him a question which he promptly answered. Then, I asked if he was lying. He calmly said yes. And we moved on. I am in awe because I remember being called on little lies as a child and blubbering excuses or laying the blame on my brothers. My parents pressed until I confessed with tears and words spilling out in a splash of honesty. My son’s honesty is refreshing and inspiring. It’s a rare trait in this world to know some one who doesn’t fear the truth. I know that there will come a time when he won’t attempt the initial white lie.
Honesty is rare in any form most days. It’s difficult, laying your vulnerabilities and shortcomings down on the table for someone else to see. With that understanding, I don’t begrudge people for hiding behind little white lies and falsities. In fact, I think the perfectionist world we’ve come to create makes honesty difficult at best. Somethings are too scary for the world to see. Especially our dark sides.
In writing, I value honesty. F. Scott, my friend, has a dark side. A friend pointed that out to me not long ago. Human darkness isn’t comfortable. Many times, we’d prefer that people keep their insecurities hidden in the recesses of their soul. It’s easier to just pretend that our friend, or loved one, is perfect. Keep that darkness to yourself.
But every once in a while, someone comes along. They have a dark side too, but have put the work into making peace with it. Their comfort, in return, makes them strong enough to witness your darkness. I call these people friends. I’ve been blessed with so many.
I like honesty in all forms of writing. Beth Hart is my musical equivalent to F. Scott. In her songs, you can hear her darkness. She shares it with you. “Setting Me Free” is one of my favorites.
Finding honesty in writing isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Like Virginia Woolfe said, it pierces the liver. Sometimes, it’s painful. Sometimes, it’s refreshing. I’m just learning all of this. Until “The Weight She Carried”, I just told a good story. I practiced the craft of forming sentences and combining words. I played with dialogue and learned how to describe. But it didn’t pierce my liver. Nor did I spill my guts.
In this novel, I’m like that little girl again, blubbering in the face of honesty and spilling my guts.