The Landscape of Writing
I’ve thought before that sometimes blogging can present a perfect world. We gush about the things we love, the people we care about, the things we are learning, new Spiritual insights etc. It isn’t necessarily the intention of the writer to present things as perfect but it can be interpreted as ‘all good’ and even stir up jealousy. It’s hard to be vulnerable in writing (or in life for that matter) and I’ve heard an author say that there is a fine line between honesty and privacy.
I don’t know about you but when I read blogs, I read between the lines. I know that what I’m reading is simply a glimpse, a snapshot into someone’s world. It’s not the whole picture and on some level you have to take what they are saying as what they are willing/able to share. Some things are meant for the ears of trusted friends-which isn’t to say that we are allowed to be dishonest in our sharing but that there are boundaries for things we put out in public. For readers I suppose there is a fine line between judgment and insight.
The other thing I think about it is that when words are written, sometimes they sound beautiful simply because they are written. Writing tends to zoom in and even create perspective. For example I could tell you that today my mother-in-law took all my ladies to a concert. I could tell you that while my kids were gone, supper was made and a friend stopped by with freshly baked cinnamon buns. Sitting down and enjoying a cup of coffee with a cinnamon bun while the sunlight penetrated though the window was incredible! I could tell you that my husband was in his office for the morning and back for supplies shortly after he left and that it makes my heart warm when he is around. These things sound amazing-and really they are amazing. Putting it into words sometimes makes even me, the one who experienced these things, see them in a different light.
I could leave you, the reader, with this picture of pleasant gifts and trust that you know this is not my ‘everyday’ but my today. However, I could go on and tell you that sometimes when I write about good gifts like these, in my heart I struggle with wanting to be defensive about the break I am having from my children. I want to qualify to the world that mostly I am home with my children all day because I home school. I want you to know that the concert started a noon so you don’t think my kids were gone at dawn. Part of me may want to clarify that just because Dan was home this morning, doesn’t mean I get to see him or have his attention like I want it. I might want to hide the fact that although the concert was a noon concert, my girls didn’t get home till 4:30.
So if I present the first perspective of all the sweet gifts I received today, would the reader know all the other things? Does the reader need to know? These thoughts show me a whole new level of gratitude that I am missing in my life. They zoom in on something that I could choose to write about or leave for my own contemplation.
So here, I go, zooming in further just to show you that the lens can focus closer even if it makes me squirm. If I have these good things, why do I feel defensive? Because deep down I want people to recognize the things about my life that I think are hard? Is it that I appreciate the good things I was given today but that part of me is not fully thankful-there is a ‘but’ in the thankfulness-almost a mistrust of the gifts God has given instead of a humbled, in awe of His tenderness, fully abandoned of self, gratitude? Sometimes writing exposes more for the writer than for the reader!
I want you to know that I AM grateful for the gifts God gives me. I am not saying that I am not. What I am saying is that the contentedness does not always go deep down even when there is gratitude. I could stop at all the beautiful (or what I recognize as beautiful because all of the hard stuff is truly beautiful too-that’s a whole other blog post!) and leave it there and still be being honest and trust the reader to know that life isn’t all roses. The other choice is keep writing and expose a bit of my soul. Does that make me more honest? I don’t think so-it broadens the lens and opens up a bit more of the landscape but that is a choice not a requirement.
So I think what it comes down to is the perspective of both the reader and writer. Writers have to keep in mind how they present things and readers have to keep in mind that the lens of words cannot expose everything all at once. Words paint pictures, some of them are black and white, and some of them are full color. Some of them are zoomed in; some of them are zoomed out. Sometimes, you might have to guess what is in the surrounding landscape and sometimes the author displays it.