My favourite scene from a Diane Keaton/Jack Nicholson movie whose title I’ve forgotten is when she sits at her computer, sobbing buckets. She is a writer and as such, she can do nothing else but write about her most unfortunate liaison with Jack, a gut-wrenching episode in her life. She cries so much her computer is in danger of short-circuiting from salt water damage, she sits in a sea of Kleenex. It is hilarious. It struck a chord with every writer who saw it.
That which is written from the heart or the deepest part of your gut is likely to be the most authentic work. Truth in writing resonates with readers.
Such writing is painful. Probably on a par with having your fingernails and toenails systematically plucked out while simultaneously being prodded with a hot poker. Or, perhaps if you were possessed by a demon and had to undergo an exorcism by a particularly sadistic priest. Or, being burned alive.
That’s the kind of pain I’m talking about.
Writing produced in such a way is the writing you will have to hide from family members or publish under a nom de plume because invariably its about them – unless you’re very, very brave. But that’s ok. Nom de plumes are fun – I’ve already got three myself.
Writing the hurt is worth the pain. The process is difficult. I’ve paced countless footsteps in front of my desk, pushed myself away from the keyboard because it felt as though the keystrokes burned my fingers – the words hurt so much. I’ve agonized – is it too much? How can I say that? Why does my mind go there?
What is this weird desperate need for attention that prompts writers to reveal, through the vehicle of fiction, their deepest fears and sufferings to total strangers? I sometimes think therapy would be healthier…