Tuesday, April 03, 2012

I Have To Write Naked?!

And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed. --Genesis 2:25

The opening chapters of Genesis are some of my favorite chapters in the Bible.  Without a doubt, each time I read them, I learn something new.  Regardless of whether or not one believes that they are actual historical events or stories to explain humanity or something somewhere in between those ideas, there is still so much we can learn from it.

In the last few days, Genesis 2:25 has been in my head, due to two things that I have read.

The first was this post called Get Naked:  The Most Important Writing Advice You Will Ever Read  and the second was the last few chapters of Anne Lamott's book Bird by Bird.  One of the chapters in Lamott's book is called Finding Your Voice.  That made me smile, since I had written about almost that exact phrase at the end of February.

What didn't make me smile though, was when the author of the "Get Naked" post when she quoted another post, by Billy Coffey, simply titled Writing Naked.
“Writers fail because they come to the page fully clothed. They adorn themselves with fanciful plots and layer themselves with complicated character development. They use flowery prose and words you have to look up in the dictionary. They do this not to impress their readers, but to keep their readers at arm’s length. They’re afraid. Afraid to bare their souls and inject themselves into their work. For that they are cowards."
The other thing that didn't make me smile was in Anne Lamott's chapter titled Giving.  She writes:
"You are going to have to give and give and give, or there's not reason for you to be writing.  You have to give from the deepest part of yourself..." (pages 202-203, emphasis mine)
The reason that these did not make me smile is because I know that I do not do them.  I agree with them; I know from reading many books and magazines and blogs that the ones that are the best are the ones in which people give of themselves and let the readers know that they are not alone.

Joy, the author of the Get also said "Writing naked connects with people. And that’s what I want — to connect with you, to help you recognize that you are not alone, that we’re in this thing together."

Anne Lamott said something similar:
"But so many of us can be soothes by writing: think of how many times you have opened a book, read one line, and said, 'Yes!'  And I want to give people that feeling, too, of connection, communion."  (page 204).  
I do want to do those things through my writing, but I know that I am not there yet.  To bare my soul and let people in--even friends--does not come easily to me at all, and it will take a lot of work to do this in my writing.

But I suppose that is part of the art and practice of writing--to learn how to do those things, not to be good at them immediately.  I am like Adam & Eve after they realized they were naked--hiding and covering who they were.  As I continue to blog, I hope I can take of those fig leaves that cover my heart and soul and let the words flow unobstructed.  It won't be easy, but then, what of value ever is easy?

2 comments: said...

Just a thought... If you truly wrote while naked, your inner restrictions may be loosened enough to let you accomplish your dreams...

Kelly said...

That makes sense.