Before Jamie Oliver became a food crusader, he had a show called The Naked Chef. And, no, it didn't feature Jaimie braising in the buff. Instead he would use a "glug" of olive oil while stir frying and mix things up with his hands in his cluttered kitchen in his London flat. In other words, it was real. This intimate relationship with food resonated with my own creative forces.
I live in a community where many people write memoirs. I applaud their efforts even if I'm not drawn to memoir writing myself. First of all, I wouldn't want to bore my readers to sleep; my life isn't that exciting. The real reason, however, is I'm not keen on digging up the old bones of my past for the world to see. All of those experiences are personal.
I think this is why I enjoy writing fiction. A made up story with pretend people provides the perfect diversion from the truth.
Well, I convince myself of this fantasy.
In truth, writing gets messy and complicated. Under the protection of the imaginary world, the real shows up--completely naked, and those things I never felt comfortable sharing show up (whether I want them to or not).
I've had writing sessions when I realized my hands are shaking with fear, even anger, or I wipe tears from my face. Since my mind is usually focused on the story (what will the character will do next?), I'm not expecting the emotion.
The authenticity both fascinates and frightens me. Often I have to go back and build on these scenes to make them even stronger, for I know at some point I backed off afraid of what I churned up from within.
Sharing my life--my fears, frustrations, and longings scare me, yet this is what makes the story and the characters come to life.
Time to take off my clothes and make it real!