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  • Writer's pictureCaroline

A Plea for the Author You Love

I took a writing class a few years ago, in person, with seasoned writers and stay at home moms wanting to chronicle milestones for their family; stories they longed to share. When one writes for the universe of potential audience, for the sheer joy of writing or the joy of the subject matter, their heart and mind pours up and out of them like a torrent that cannot and should not be stopped; and yet so often it is. 

My peers in this class expressed angst over writing truly what they felt, what they observed from their perspective. Their question, and mine, was, how to deal with someone reading what you have written and being hurt by it, namely, someone you love. The not so comforting resolution was to get over it, you will undoubtedly offend and wound, no matter how meticulously you consider all the ways your words crafted with love might be misconstrued to something ugly, something cruel, something final. There would be no mercy to consider that when conveying an experience in our finite vocabulary and page space, that some nuance of justice, equity, or holistic truth might be missed; that a sliver of the pie would be considered representative of the whole, but it is not a pie that is being served, but a varied life of experience where every entree has a different theme, a different lesson, a different view.

Don’t hold against the bold author what they wrote in a moment whose context you cannot know when you read some time later without the benefit of experiencing the aches and joys that lead that pen to pad in that very moment. Don’t frustrate the one whose heart was so bold they dared to share it and risk criticism and unintentional offense to those they would rather tempt death than risk harming. Be tender when you read their words, crafted in the dark hours, with only the knowledge they have up to that very moment. Be tender as they show you themself, naked and shivering as they wait to know their soul spilled forth is not in vain, but that somewhere, someone breathes a littler lighter because of their quiet sacrifice.

Consider patience as they stretch their literary imagination, when they attempt to take abstract imaginations of their minds and pull them out onto paper and give them life that is comprehensible to others not living within their mind. It is a clunky process to take that which is generated within and give it bones so that it can stand on its own in this four dimensional realm. To take a thought, an image, and give it life so that it can walk before us, to be seen, heard, felt, embraced; or rejected, mutilated, murdered, and heaped into the trash.

It is not the literary critic that bites at the tender heart of those who wish to share their intimate lessons and delights in life. It is their loved ones, their revered partners in this confusing and breathtaking momentary life.

If you love someone whose mind works a little different than yours, whose soul ekes out of their flesh in unconventional ways, my request to you is that you allow them to be free to stretch their limbs into the space they were given. Allow them to embellish and diminish while in their craft, as they show you that in their relationship, they are steady and true. Understand that what hits the paper is a clumsy attempt at conveying a realm that our humanity can only dream to accurately comprehend. 

Think of all the brilliance we silence when our own understanding clips the wings of another whose greatest aspiration is to carry the weight of their brother. 

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