Sometimes candour can be more challenging than we might think

memorOne of the difficulties facing a writer is the matter of candour. As I have mentioned before that I have recently been penning something of a memoir and I find the most galling aspect of the process (along with all the other galling aspects) is how revealing I should be.

I have no prudery about me and have no tolerance for such false guardedness. Yet, at the same time I catch myself self-censoring. I will go back to a passage and think – I wrote that? I can’t say that? It’s too private – You know, kind of a built-in ‘eww’ factor which revolves around not wanting people to think icky things about my behaviour. At the end of it I find myself questioning myself a great deal of the time and wondering what impact a certain passage will have on a reader.

I have a lovely female blogger friend with whom I have been connected for a number of years and she’s a person whose candour blows me away. She is an avid writer and aside from being adorable looking, she is amazingly funny, astonishingly broad-minded and, well, just an absolute treasure. I envy her ability to throw person caution to the wind.noopsy

Case in point. A few weeks ago she described her success in a yoga session in which she attained a goal, which was to have her vagina touch the floor. Well, despite what charming images the passage brought to my mind (few of them having much to do with yoga), I also found myself getting a bit schoolteacherish and wanting to point out to her that it would be her vulva that had touched the floor.

But, that is not the point here. My point is I could not be so blithe about discussing the status of my penis in certain situations. I would probably attempt to stifle such a passage in metaphor, or possibly even puns, like Shakespeare was given to doing.

Now, I am not a person who is easily embarrassed. Friends and/or lovers and spouses can attest to that. I have no problem with nudity, or sexuality, or very candid discussion. It’s the way I am built and am grateful for that. As I have mentioned in the past, I have a detestation of crudity, but I can and will discuss (or show) virtually anything without cringing. However, when it comes to putting aspects of me in print form, I sometimes wimp out.

For example, I have devoted some coverage to my relationship with my second wife. How descriptive do I want to be. My motivation here being I somehow have no right to offend her by hanging her knickers on the line next to mine. Yet, then I am compromising the truth, bedad. In a similar realm, I had (as have others) intimate liaisons with people in years gone by. How much of them do I wish to expose (figuratively)? Do I have that right to intrude in such a manner? I mean, they have friends, family, spouses. Can I encroach for the sake of self-expression?

There is no easy answer.

And that is why I admire the honesty of my young friend so much.


9 responses to “Sometimes candour can be more challenging than we might think

  1. I think No. It is not right to discuss intimate things about others without their permission, and if you know they would find such offensive, you know you should not do it.
    And this is the reason I have (for now) scrapped my memoirs. I stopped writing them because I couldn’t find a realistic way of disguising identities without making the truth a work of fiction.

    • Added to which, people can sue your ass off. No, probably permission should be sought but your integrity as a writer shouldn’t be violated, either. It’s kind of a no win.

  2. As candid as I can be, I have lost friends due to the truth as I see it, in print. Though no-one threatened litigation, as a professional, there is a line which must be walked carefully. There are many situations about which I could write and simply do not…Occupational hazard. As for individual privacy, namely mine, I always come down on the side of more, rather than less, although in this digital world we’ve ushered in with seeming abandon, notions of privacy have been challenged and in some cases, upended entirely. Privacy as it was once understood may have become a thing of the past.

  3. LOL I could never do what she did! At my age, my butt touches the ground when I fall!! That’s as close as I’ll get. You definitely do not seem bashful to me from what I have read on your blog.

  4. What to reveal is indeed a prickly question. Glad I’m not a writer.
    And when did vagina become a synonym of vulva? Your vagina is INSIDE people!!! This said, I would love to be able to do whatever move that was. I’m embarrassed to even try yoga until I become more flexible – we all know that has about zero chance of happening…

  5. And I don’t know why people don’t seem to get the vagina/vulva matter. It’s be like saying the penis and scrotum were the same thing and that one could stand for the other.

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