One 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.
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.