To write is first and foremost to come face to face with the reality of ourselves. What we see will be reflected within the consonants and vowels, the pauses and flourishes of our words. For better or worse, warts and all, the more accomplished we become the more of our soul is bared. Oh, I can hold up my shining heart, wave high every fine shred of virtue I claim, and just as easily beguile myself into believing such is all that I reveal of myself. But I write adult fantasy and know that sooner or later, if not myself, someone will pull back the curtain and discover the wizard behind, standing in all their naked truth. Better it be me does the discovering I say. My task, my trust, is to write honestly. To create honest fictional characters. But fictional doesn’t imply unreal. So, when my quill scratches parchment and dark ink begins to build a character, where else but from within will he or she be born?
There are few moments as powerful as finding myself scribbling furiously away in a desperate attempt to keep pace with an unfolding scene. Music provides such when I improvise that perfect riff, or have an epiphany in the middle of a lesson I’m giving and can actually see how to express my point in just that way my student will finally grasp the point. Like being carried along by a wave. Pure wonder! Only when it arrives through writing there’s another dimension to the experience.
I slump back in my chair, drained of every drop of imagination, ecstatic in my exhaustion, and then I shiver as I read what can only be called the raw truth of myself. There’s nothing therapeutic or cathartic about it at that moment. I’ve just cut deeply into myself and now watch as I bleed; horrified, fascinated, in denial or not as I search the sanguine flow for the source of such rage or fear or pain, such dark and twisted ugliness. To borrow a few words of Kierkegaard: I write in fear and trembling of what I will find.