THE WRITING DILEMMA

Sometimes there are things that I want to write about but I can't write about it because someone might read it. Which is totally dumb, because if you write something you should expect that eventually someone is going to read it. Here in lies the Catch 22. I am of the old school way of thinking that if you can't say anything nice, you shouldn't say anything at all. I don't have bad things to say about people, but since I don't talk as much as I write out things, I might say something hurtful. Why don't I just get a private diary, you ask? Why do I think I have to write everything here? Well the thing about so called "private" diaries is that they are never really private. Someone could always find it and read it and then what if that person is upset by what they read? 

It is the basic plot line of over a dozen teenage movies. Girl writes scathing things in diary. Girl's enemy finds diary, makes copies and distributes throughout the school. Oh the embarrassment of having your classmates read about how you want to French kiss Joey Martin and how Brenda Bellman is a stuck up little bitch. And of course, by the time everyone reads that stuff, it's completely outdated. You now want and have been Frenching Eric Taggert and you and Brenda are the best of friends. Until she reads your diary. Then all Hell breaks loose. Even when we write things down with the intention of those words being private, there is the potential for disaster. After Chris died, I found an uncountable number of notebooks where he'd written list after list. There was one where he'd written "I will be well" over and over, like a school teacher had punished him with writing this sentence a thousand times. I can't imagine he ever wrote that thinking that I would read his heartbreaking words of desperate hope or how shattering it would be for me to read it. Yet I understand that he wrote it as his therapy, when he and I both desperately wanted to believe that he would be well. 

I think about these things whenever I sit down to write somewhere. Even my Fortune Cookie journal that I write in every week. I was hoping those fortune prompts would inspire tiny stories of fiction, but there have been so many that just pull out threads of memory that I end up laying down on the page. Yesterday was the first time in a long time where I wrote something of fiction. I wrote about a woman working in her gray cubicle with gray walls and gray lighting and how she could see a flower shop out her window and longed for the freedom to run her own shop. It was the first thing I'd written in a long time that didn't make me nervous for others to read it. There's a slight worrisome panic that someone will read my words and it will stab them in the chest the way Chris's words stabbed me. I can't stop thinking about the first rule of the hippocratic oath. Do no harm. Am I causing harm with my words? That line between throwing my thoughts down on paper and exposing my raw skin is so very fine and thin. My balance has been off lately and I feel like maybe I've fallen into the raw skin side of things. 

Spring does that to me, probably because I've spent the last several months bundled up in layers of clothes. I've been hibernating. It's kind of like taking that first scooter ride of the season without a jacket because you think it is warm enough outside to go without. Then half way in to the ride, your arms are covered in goose bumps and your teeth are chattering. This time of year makes me more sensitive. Maybe I just need to put on a sweater. Or find a good therapist.