Thursday, January 13, 2011

Two Worlds in Sync

A question I heard eloquently put to writers in general this week is this: is your writing self, your narrative voice different from the one that narrates your everyday life? In other words, is the person are as a writer the same as the one living in the rough and tumble of your everyday circumstances?

I dare to say we're a little bolder, exhibit a little more bravado as our writing selves than we do as our everyday selves. That's not to say there is a real schism in our personalities, actually. Just that we try a little harder, puff out our chests a little more, roll our sleeves up a little higher when we are in "creative mode."  Natalie Goldberg describes this beautifully, (as always!). She recounts a discussion she had with a good friend of her's:

"We talked about ...the chasm between the great love we feel for the world when we sit and write about it and the disregard we give it in our own human lives, about how Hemingway could write of the great patience of Santiago in the fishing boat and how Hemingway himself , when he stepped out of the writing studio, mistreated his wife and drank too much. We have to begin to bring these two worlds together. Art is the act of nonaggression. We have to live this art in our daily lives."
 I for one, am humbled by the realization that too often, the aesthetics we hold up as ideal in our writings do not reflect in our Monday mornings, in our everyday routines. It challenges me to start living in the world I inhabit as I would if I were writing me into this world.

"Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits." -Carl Sandburg


  1. Inspiring post, as usual, hon!

    My writing voice is similar to my daily narrative voice, although I like to think more eloquent, and yes, more daring. I will say things in fiction I would never dare admit in real life.

    - Lauren

    Ladaisi Blog

  2. I've gone through personas over the years, trying to cultivate an identity for myself through my writing. I found it very tiresome and ultimately self-defeating. As anybody who knows me well would tell you, the person I am in writing or online is who I am in real life. I try not to distinguish the two, and to keep a level head about things in both respects.

  3. Thanks for your thoughts, ladies!

    I like to think that we don't have to be either sublime or routine in our writing. I think if I were to expand on Goldman's thoughts, I would say that our art is an expression of our humanity. Authenticity is an aspect of that, and some of the most poignant and startling pieces of writing I've read are so because they betray an authenticity and an honesty on the part of the author.



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