A come clean. When recently reading an artist friend’s post about not being responsible for how her art is viewed or perceived, it occurred to me that often I write with the intention of evoking certain responses in the reader. Like all journalists, I have strong opinions about mostly everything. Love, relationships, spirituality, politics, world events, human behavior, the whys and wherefores of the world fascinate me. I love to wax poetic and philosophical about all of those topics. There are times when I want to go full bore when I read or hear about cruelty and destruction, with a righteous ‘How dare they ….?” That is so whether it is about a ‘protected’ lion murdered by someone who was trained to be a healer and admits enjoyment of bloodshed , or the numbers of children who are abused on a daily basis, by those who are expected to love them.
Social media is rife with opportunities to get my stomach churning. Violent videos, Fox News spewing lies or half truths in the form of click bait, people glorifying behaviors that cause harm to themselves others, bigotry, homophobia, war mongering … all of these are writing prompts. Some I follow up on, while others I let be. Even those that demand my attention, call out for restraint. Good thing I have filters. If something stirs up a visceral reaction, rather than a well considered response, then I know I need to take pause and run my thoughts through them, lest I release a firestorm of pushback.
There have been times when on my Facebook page, people have expressed vastly differing opinions from my own and have been confrontational. I have to decide how to address them. Interestingly, friends have responded on my behalf, assuming always that my intentions are good. Am I judgmental? Sometimes. Do I wish people would see the world as I do? Yup. And then I consider that reality is an individual concept. We each see the world through the lenses of our experiences and the decisions we make as a result. If I had lived the lives that those who disagree with me, have experienced, then I too might feel as they do and I too might take the same actions. Hard to accept that I am capable of engaging in behaviors I abhor. Even as I am writing, I continue to strip away my resistance to having a full range of feelings about every decision people make.
What if I just wrote what I felt and let the chips fall where they may? Unless I do that, I am stifling The Muse, who feeds my soul. I will still use discretion, keep the filters operational and speak my truth at the same time.