Truth and beautiful fiction

I remember a few years ago during a writing workshop with the masterful and creatively unapologetic poet Andrew Hudgins, he encouraged us to say what needed to be said in our work, allow the words to be honest, unforgiving. At the time, I wasn’t brave enough to do that. I was busy hiding behind content and beautiful words. I struggled with finding the truths in my writing. The truths were there—in my head and heart; but I had a fear of them finding their way into my words and lines. I had a fear that readers of my work would somehow think that all the narratives and imagery in my writing were solely my truths. Hudgins encouraged me not to care what anyone thought—just write. His writerly push was just what I needed to stop hiding. Even if the writing isn’t memoir or autobiographical, I suppose the imagery in my writing is in some way my truth. Not the kind of truth children fear when looking into the eyes of an angry parent; but the kind of truth that reveals itself in the tangled sentences and lines behind the blinking cursor, the unmistakably honest pen.

I like this quote by the poet Henri Cole…

“In my own poems, I have grown accustomed to astringency; there is no longer any compulsion to hide or temper the truth, as there was when I was setting out twenty years ago. I do not want to relive what I have felt or seen or hoped along the way, but I do want to extract some illustrative figures, as I do from the parables in the Bible, to help me persevere each day at my writing table, where I must confront myself, overcome any fear of what I might find there, and begin assembling language into poetry.” (source credit:

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Categories: Writing

2 Comments on “Truth and beautiful fiction”

  1. August 27, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    This is so important. Gordon.

    • August 27, 2012 at 11:28 am #

      Absolutely, and it’s a process. Thanks for visiting my blog Gordon.

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