Sunday, 29 March 2015

Tell The Truth

I was cleaning up yesterday and came across a box I had been avoiding... more or less.
A long time ago, when I was a budding writer, I took a creative writing course. I had already written a novel by then. That novel was crap. However, the experience of writing the novel was good in and of itself. The issue was I was trying to write an adult novel from my seventeen year old perspective. It doesn't work. During the course, one thing stuck with me. When writing - even fiction - one needs to tell the truth. It took me a long time to figure out that I was supposed to be writing my own truth, not what I thought people wanted to hear (i.e. their truth). I didn't know what my truth was then... which is why I write in the first place.
People generally don't want to hear what they already know. They want something new.
I happened across an old flame's Facebook page yesterday. (I call her X2 for anonymity.) Why I bothered flipping through her time-line, I don't know and the crux is, I did. I suppose we all wonder how those who were once intimate are making out in their lives. Sometimes we find out. Sometimes it's best we don't. As it happens, she has written and published a book using a nom de plume. (I'll get back to that.)
I'll be buying a copy.
It's not unusual for me to buy books by people I know. I have one written by one of my English teachers in high school and several written by friends. I have a sneaking suspicion this particular book is going to be a bit disturbing.
I wrote an entry a short time ago called Man Up! In it I outline how the feminist movement has gone beyond simple equality to a position of domination. When X2 and I were together, we had the same ideals about equality. Not always the same methods for achieving equilibrium and still, the same ideals. We remained friends after the break-up for a few years until one incident changed all of it. She took a dominating posture and I – having learned I no longer would accept being subservient – packed it in and walked away. (This is my truth, so take it with a grain of salt.)
There was nothing belligerent about my reaction to the incident. No fizzling out. No argument. No hissy fit or pushing back. I just drew the line in the sand, it was crossed and I stopped engaging. End of story.
I learned something about myself that day. But then, don't we always?
The book in question seems to be some sort of manual for women getting what they want. I'm all for that. And, it seems from the outside looking in, a manual for women to dominate. I won't pass judgment at this point. That would be unfair and I would like to see what is being meted out as advice before throwing my hat into the ring. However, the stance promoted in some of her Facebook entries are telling and – from my point of view – a bit disturbing.
Is there any wonder I won't re-engage intimately on a one to one level?
It seems to me if one is going to write something, particularly non-fiction, one would want to use their own name and stand behind their opinion. When a writer uses a nom de plume for their writing, I immediately go to “I wonder what they're hiding”. Perhaps it's just me and there seems to be a bit of untruth happening... as if the writer doesn't quite believe what they are writing. Or the persona they are creating isn't who they are in reality which is a bit of untruth in itself. Or, they may be writing about something so controversial it's best they safely hide behind the mask of a different characterization. It makes me wonder what she is hiding.
It's all fun and games until someone unceremoniously removes the mask.
The box I referred to earlier is a box of photos. Momentary glimpses of momentary truths once known. One of the photos was taken at the end of a course I assisted with many years ago and have since assisted a few times. In the background of the photo of happy people is a large sign stating, “Tell The Truth”.
So that's it then, isn't it. Tell the truth... your truth... and sign your name to it... not your nom de plume. Of course, all of this is my truth and may not be yours.