My Favorite Place, Submersion and Truth

Nothing better.

Days in the ocean: 4

Miles run with my husband: 7 (ha! tricked him again!)

Words written in my novel this week: 0

My apologies to all my fellow bloggers whose writing I’ve missed the past few days…

In the vein of those corny plaques you can buy about fishing and golf, I’m of the opinion that a bad day at the beach is better than a good day most other places.

I have never been to the beach in June here in the South where the weather was so cool, the water so warm. It was pretty wacky.

My husband’s parents are here from England, and my mother-in-law is used to swimming in bone-chilling water and shares some DNA with polar bears, so she was fine. The rest of us plunged into the waves and tried to stay under the water as much as possible; to venture out into the wind was an act of foolishness.

Wind, huddle, wave buffet, laughter.

I try to remind myself to stay submerged when I write. Sometimes I find it easier than other times.

When I first started writing for the newspaper, I feared personal columns. There were a couple of columnists who wrote about their lives, and I cringed when I thought about exposing my feelings, the lives of my family and my past to public scrutiny. What if I wrote something that no one could identify with?

What if I wrote that I loved the beach, and people thought I was crazy? Only kidding. Everyone loves the beach, right?

Well, not my mom.

But anyway, a weird thing happened when I started writing longer fiction: I was able to let my feelings get all mixed around in and mushed up in my characters. And then, when I started blogging, I was able to spread my feelings all out in a messy way, smeared all over the blog entries.

And then, that whole thing that’s supposed to happen when you’re middle-aged and forget to stand up straight to pull in your belly or when you throw caution to the winds and ditch the mascara for the day without caring happened to my writing.

I realized that by staying in the water and not trying to keep coming up for air, my writing improved. Or at least, it improved from my rather limited perspective: all of the truth spilled out of it.

How do you access truth in your writing? Do you ever have a cringe-worthy moment when you write something personal that you wouldn’t want a reader to know? Or do you feel free?

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8 thoughts on “My Favorite Place, Submersion and Truth

  1. Bernie Brown says:

    I both cringe and feel a sort of “oh, what the hell” feeling.

  2. crubin says:

    I have a cringe-worthy moment every time I publish a blog post. But I remind myself it’s the name of the game and only put out what I can handle. Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

  3. jmmcdowell says:

    I don’t think any of my most personal moments will ever be fictionalized. I wouldn’t want anyone to recognize them. But I try to ensure my characters are true to themselves. That’s still hard to do sometimes. They don’t like to talk about painful/personal moments any more than most people. But we try.

    • annewoodman says:

      I have never had success with trying to fictionalize my own experiences… like you said, the characters have their own lives. But the feelings they feel can be very close to home. I think that’s what carries through and makes the writing more universal.

  4. If we choose to call ourselves writers, then we owe it to ourselves and our readers to be honest. That, in turn, causes the “cringes”. However, that is what I call the nature of the beast. I think it becomes less painful with time and practical experience.

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