"I'd rather have cancer than a dishonest heart.”TRUMAN CAPOTE
It can be hard to take on a controversial issue. In personal writing it can be nearly impossible to confront a painful topic. Does that mean it’s not worth writing about? What to do when you’re torn between being honest and hurting someone’s feelings? Is “hands off” the right policy?
Truman Capote famously alienated his “friends” by revealing them with all their warts and wrinkles, lies, hypocrisy, and pretensions. Maybe it’s not necessary to go that far, but is there a middle ground?
My approach to difficult subjects is to attempt whatever is pleading to be explored, no matter how painful or shameful or secret it feels. Let it come forth from my mind, heart, unconscious, or wherever it might be lurking in all its gory detail. Put it on paper or on the screen. Then let it simmer. Let it percolate. Let it ripen.
Review it later with a bit of distance and a calm mind. Is it urgent in its need for wider distribution? Is it something to share with a limited audience? Something that can be mined for fiction?
Perhaps the answer is that it simply needed to be expressed. But if there’s a message or a great story, go for it. Be brave. Stick your neck out.