I took a creative writing class back in college. All of us were assigned poems and all but four of us were assigned short stories. The remainder, which included me, were assigned "creative nonfiction"- that is to say a narrative presentation of something true from our own lives.
What I wrote was a rather loose narrative of sitting at my keyboard, having had an incident of genuine personal revelation that was truly important to me, and all of the reasons I had no intention of writing it for the class. It got a mixed reaction from the other students, but the teacher liked it, so I suppose that's alright.
I've been thinking about it for a number of reasons, though the immediate catalyst was reading other writers' blogs and watching them share things so heartbreakingly personal that I would hesitate to discuss them with the best of my friends. And here they were, flinging them out into the uncontrolled void, to land on who knows what sharp rocks, to be exposed to the unknown elements of other people's minds and hearts. I was jealous, mortified, exhilarated, and I think a little ashamed.
Part of the reason I think it's all knotted up in my mind is that that specific honest emotional component is something I had genuinely loved about those writers' stories, and I think it's something that's often missing from mine. And I don't think there's a good way to fake it, which means I would need to open myself up to the weird distant intimacy that comes when you really put yourself out into your fiction. I'm not really comfortable with that, except in very specific ways. I think the thing I'm least willing to share with people is joy, honestly, and I think it's fair to say that my writing comes out a little darker and more hopeless for it. Joy's a funny thing sometimes- light and delicate as a soap bubble, and while it's probably tougher than I usually give it credit for, I have a terrible tendency to hoard my little joys to myself, for fear that others, not understanding, will mishandle them or mock me about them. I'm generally quite a happy, upbeat person, but if I were a house, I would tend to entertain on my front porch, and most of my back rooms would be tightly locked.
In life and in writing, it's something I probably need to work on.