Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Live dangerously: Write

One of my inspiring teachers is writing a book linking danger and writing. My imagination has been at play with that connection for a while now. You need courage to write, not just because your cousin Joanne won't like how you portrayed her as a bitch (or she thought you did) in your novel or memoir. The deeper risk is that it shakes up your own soul. All of those things you could list that you DON'T want to write about are the things you need to confront, but each one takes an act of courage on your part. Even if you are not going to write any memoir, you need to mine these past events because their emotional freight is what makes your writing come alive. Digging into buried pain bombs is not easy. And it can be rewarding but there are no guarantees: you can't say to yourself, okay, if I think this through finally, my relationship with my dad will be fixed forever. It may not be. You may need to keep revisiting that healing sore on and on into the future because there is still shrapnel there. But some of the hurt area will recover the healthy pinkness of flesh and definitely, the emotions you uncover will spark up your writing. Go there, take the risk.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Moderation in Everything, Even Blogs

I resisted moderating the comments for a while, but I've suddenly been connected with a coterie of spammers and one advertised a smut site. I can't let that keep happening, so I am asking commenters to be patient for me to check that they are in the writing dialog and not the porn dialog. I am sorry to make you wait for your comments to post, but it is necessary.

Moderation is a funny word, meaning choosing the golden mean on the one side, and acting like the FBI, snooping around to make sure all is legitimate, on the other. In person, moderating a panel let's say, it's not so bad. You can point out places of major disagreements and highlight places of minor but important agreement between panelists. You can try to keep them on debatable items rather than canned speeches. I feel pretty comfortable with it in that sense. But having to vet every comment on the blog really runs against my tide. I will do it, though. I hope you legitimate discussants won't hate it too much.