Monday, December 7, 2009

The Truth Shall Set You Free, But at What Cost?

   I'm still giggling and grateful. This lunch break's whoop of joy came in the form of Charlie Rose's interview with Robin Williams. They talked of Robin's current tour and two current movies, heavily sprinkled with references to George W. Bush, Lindsay Lohan and other topics of interest.
   In the middle of all of this, Robin spoke of Richard Pryor's  influence on him. The late great Mr. Pryor always told the truth, his truth of a childhood in a brothel and of his problems with drugs, through his jokes. The humor provided a catharsis for him, and Robin said that he noticed a difference after he had performed.  
    Once I heard a literature professor say that since the the advent of psychotherapy, there had been no great novels. I wouldn't go so far as to say that. It can be incredibly freeing to write about one's demons, to speak of their signatures upon one's soul. I would add the caveat that it matters not that you do it; simply pick your venues carefully.
   We can't all, nor should we, make our confession or plead our case to Mother Oprah in front of a live studio audience. Not everyone wants to hear a story, and not everyone involved needs to have their lives disrupted because of someone else's sins.Even if deserved revenge is a factor, or the hope that others who have suffered the same plight will take courage, and even if it will, one thinks, be part of the healing process, it's best to be discreet.
   Write in a journal. Write not just what happened, but consequences for the wrongdoing. Put it into a work of fiction. I once met a mystery writer who taught high school English. He was union steward for his school. After meetings where someone had annoyed him to no end, he would write a scene where the colleague would perish in a most foul and untoward manner. If it still worked the next day, he would write it into his current book. 
    Use your truth as a starting point for a project, and let it take its course from there. Do it for yourself, and other on the path will find you.

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