Can You Be a Writer and Private?
Stepping out, into pseudo ‘lime light’
Can you imagine yourself in that little cabin above, alone, for a lengthy period of time? Let’s say you can. But you are also a writer, writing for an audience.
Can you really remain truly ‘unknowable’?
In the post I have attached below, I originally wrote about Haruki Murakami and his ‘private’ life as both a runner and a writer. I thought I could relate to what he was saying. A recent conversation lend me to re-think this likelihood — that one can be both private and a writer.
The essence of this, for me, is that the two terms, when put together, are indeed, somewhat contradictory and counter-intuitive. We can, of course, be private-individuals. But as writers, I believe, we must embrace a life of pseudo-privacy.
For me, I have learned, that being a less private individual, through writing, inherently drives connections, both within the matrix of my identity, and, with the world. I step outside of oppression (self and other imposed) to do so. I embrace my voice and that naturally translates into less privacy.
It takes some balancing to minimize the personal loss and maximize the gains. The ‘less-than-private’ essence of who I am, is often unintentionally or, maybe, consciously, conveyed in tidbits, or more ‘whopping-bits’, into the mind of the reader, who then can translate at whim. That is a risk we writers must knowingly take.
And, we accept this because we are reaching out to learn more about the world, our selves and our readers. In the writing process, the more guarded and private, the less personal growth and connectivity with the world around us.
Narrative distancing is a technique used by writing (usually fiction but non-fiction as well). It serves to create a space between the reader and the writer varies for many reasons — emotions, thoughts, perspectives, genres, author-styling, and so on. Murakami integrates narrative distancing exceedingly well in his more fiction-work. Yet, it is also done in non-fiction work between the writer and his audience.
When I read anything, I see the ‘story’ through a mix of the narrator’s camera lens and my own. I may be perceiving what I believe to be, the writer’s private world, coming through her words and thus, possibly, be privy to her thoughts and intentions.
Most likely, though, that supposed real-life, private world is tainted by my own subjective perspectives. It’s like playing the game of telephone. Translation of the original message is altered depending on the distance between the writer and the reader — cognitively, psychologically, culturally, emotionally or physically.
the bravery behind ‘putting-it-out-there’
And, this ‘putting it out there’, no matter how much distancing from the words you try to effect, takes bravery. Part of you always seeps through. It evokes alternative translation — fodder for the eclectic ‘all’. It requires being ok with some exposure, both good and bad, wrong translation and right — being less private and more vulnerable.
Yet, ironically, the more I write, the less private I actually want to be. Which is a good thing, because I was pretty shut down. I just started writing and writing. The trickle became a stream and then a river. I think this is about being more brave in having a ‘voice’ and using it.
Having a voice in writing is having a unique expression of you
In brief, the throat chakra, is the location of creative verbal expression. When this chakra is open and energy is flowing (not stuck), communication is less restricted — more clear, open and strong. The chakra sound of ‘Hu-u-u-m’ during meditation helps to open this area. Try it — you will feel the vibration in the throat area. To step out of being closed-off, I was doing a lot of this kind of thing:)
Like therapy, the deeper the reflections, the more powerful the transformation and enlightenment. Either way, it takes being open-minded as both a reader and a writer.
I believe that as we move from the close physical connections of local communities to global ones, we are more apt to do so. Of course, I can’t speak for others in terms of what they are thinking, feeling or their intentions. What I know, though, from my experience, is that the more I read a writer’s work, the less private they also seem to be
Logically and psychologically they became more real, more alive, reality or fiction. So, I figure the same is happening with the representation of my not-so-private-writer Self — even when the image I portray may not be what I intended in the first place. But, I hope it’s a close proximity.
… and before this stream turns into a river (with rapids), I leave you with some insight from a master of the prose and his thoughts on writing and privacy which you can find here.
study me as much as you like,
you will not know me,
for I differ in hundreds of ways
from what you see me be
behind my eyes and see me
as I see myself, for I have chosen to dwell in a place you cannot see