Should we publish our pain?


I've been wondering lately: what should we reveal publicly, in order to honour the 'truth' of our writing, and what should we conceal?


We are all entitled to our private lives - but I'm sure many writers feel, as I do, that my most painful and personal writing ends up being my best work. But is it healthy to publish this?

My debut poetry book, This is not a Spectacle, has been commented on by a few people as 'looking from the outside in', from the reader's perspective. There is a distance there between what I wanted to publish about my Granny Olga's death and my raw emotion. There is a distance between other's grief and my observations of it. I believe to get any closer in this collection, I would sacrifice something in myself.

I am a very private person - I can count my best friends on one hand. It's not in my nature to feel instantly comfortable publishing intimate details of my life. Maybe if I published under another name - but building up a 'name' for my 'alterego' would take time, which I'm sure none of us ever have.

The difficulty for me, then, is finding the right balance. I want my readers to know me and I want to publish my best work, but I don't want to publish anything which causes me anxiety.

Let me know in the comments if you have ever felt like this too!

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