WRITING: A Question of Honesty

About a month ago I was asked to submit a non-fiction piece by a great editor who kindly had published my work in the first issue of his magazine last year. I don’t write a lot of non-fiction. On the other hand, all fiction comes from experience of reality.

I don’t know if it’s the privacy factor, but I know that the things in my life that are most interesting are the ones that I’m not of the mind to own up to. Some of these events have been crayoned and restructured and found their way into any number of short stories I’ve written. I just can’t seem to open up quite that much knowing that people I know are reading it as truth if it’s labeled non-fiction. So I’ve been stuck here all month with ideas and no story.

Then it dawned on me that it didn’t have to be about me at all. I don’t even need to be in the story. With a deep sigh, I opened Pages and set up the font, typed my name and “Word Count:” on top and settled in to write.

Who and what would I write about? Again, the “non-fiction” designation prevents anything from being written that is without the knowledge or permission of the characters we’re dealing with in the story. Even without naming names, it’s a bit awkward to again find those stories that are different, fresh, new, and told honestly but sensitively.

Now that would be easier to do than to sift through my lifetime and people I’ve known to come up with the story that will be both real and entertaining in some way. Something moving, something to which others can relate, something funny or tragic, big or small. And still, I find my emotions creeping in and closing the door.

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