Big times here. Found out Salon.com will be publishing a personal essay I wrote this week. !!!
I knew the day would come when I would get something published, but I'm pretty stunned it happened so quickly after I started submitting things, and in such a big outlet. It really is a dream of mine come true! I'm somewhere between shocked, ecstatic and terrified. Shocked that this is really happening. Ecstatic for obvious reasons. And terrified because my essay is, well, personal.
I'm fine with the stuff it says about me. It's fairly revealing, but I'm not ashamed of any of it. What makes me nervous is what it says about my parents -- none of it is untrue and it's not at all mean-spirited, but some of it is not especially flattering.
I had this conversation with my brother (another writer) before I submitted the piece, and the consensus was that I had to go ahead and do it, and apologize for it later if necessary. And that's exactly what's going to happen. I just didn't anticipate the guilty conscience I'm experiencing right now. I don't want to hurt my parents. But if I'm going to write about my life - and there's no question that my family will be a big part of it - feelings are going to get hurt sometimes. I've read a lot about how other writers deal with this, and there's no easy answer. As Joan Didion said, "writers are always selling someone out," and that is true as much in fiction as it is in non-fiction, but in non-fiction it's a lot easier for an outsider to tell who's who.
Hopefully in the long run they'll be able to see that I love them dearly but that I need to tell the truth. That's part of the reason I write -- to make sense of things I'm struggling with and sometimes ashamed of. Reading true accounts of other peoples' lives has helped me feel not so alone in this world. Maybe I can help someone feel that way too.