I have long thought that the job of being an author means that we have to be willing to say the things that may be too painful, too awful, too scary for others to say or even sometimes to want to hear. Perhaps that is why my books are set in a battered women’s shelter. I want to make the painful, less mysterious, less scary. I want to show there is still life after domestic violence and it can be a good one.
But I think too, that sometimes, when we say these scary things, we connect more clearly with our audience. Because there is a need for them to be said. Case in Point: the recent issue of Time. Have you seen it? The cover is blunt and to the point “What Recovery?”
Now most middle class folks here in America have been wondering just that for a while now. It is the murmured topic at the church potluck and the neighborhood barbecue and around the water cooler at work. But the administration, and most of the media haven’t bothered to say it. It was scary.
Just reading that headline was a relief. Yes. They get it. We are still in a downturn. Call it a recession, call it whatever you want–I’m calling it a depression because the classic definition of recession is short term, but it’s still happening.
So what is the writing lesson? Well, for the first time in a very long time, I want to get my hands on a Time magazine. They spoke to ME. They experienced what I know. I want to read it. And the writing lessons there, I think, are obvious then. When we speak to the person’s real life, they identify. They want to read on.
As I’ve said before, writing this stuff isn’t easy. You have to be willing to feel the pain yourself before you can communicate it effectively. But when you can do it, you know it. And you know you have written something you can be proud of.