reality: on truth, fiction, storytelling and keeping it real

I write at an old oak desk, positioned close to an open window, lift my gaze briefly from the screen to savour a soothing sea breeze and quay-side view. Air is rich with birdsong and fragrance pouring forth from a nearby arbour of flowers. Butterflies flit like my thoughts, alighting on something bright and fresh. Cut! That’s pure fabrication, of course. Here’s the reality…

Or should I share? Aren’t we aiming to inspire one another with our words, rather than discourage with life’s gritty reality? After all, what’s a bit of softened lens viewing between friends?

It helps us to imagine ourselves in a more salubrious place, a better pair of shoes. It fits us to enjoy flights of fancy without leaving the house, and it suggests a kind of lifestyle others can aspire to.

Hang on a minute, do I hear you say, isn’t this taking creativity a tad too far? Well yes, so it is. I am a writer, after all. But here’s the thing: being open, real, transparent and honest actually helps to foster trust and build connection—in real life and in the writing sphere.

How about poetry that emotes with feeling more than languidly describing a beautiful scene? It tends to glean the most responsive reactions, engenders those ‘you too?’ moments more frequently, the ones we all secretly yearn for.

Hanging out our proverbial dirty laundry in public is often frowned upon, because life can be hard enough without someone else’s mess flapping in our faces. Who needs a fresh dose of daily grime when TV and media already offer more than their fair share? And can we cope with viewing a person’s heart bleeding out on paper?

Such things nudge us out of our comfort zones, stir and provoke us into action, into caring, or maybe turning away. I’ve found in sharing personal story with transparency and vulnerability (laced with lots of God-given wisdom, sensitivity and discernment), we can make a better heart to heart connection with our readers.

It’s still a risk to speak openly about our brokenness. Some might seek a more uplifting tidbit elsewhere. And others? They will stay—hooked by our reality, see themselves within our stories, find they resonate deep within their soul…

To read the rest of this post, please follow me over to the Association of Christian Writers (ACW)  ‘More Than Writers’ blog where I am sharing my words today. Just click here to join me there. Thank you!  🙂

6 thoughts on “reality: on truth, fiction, storytelling and keeping it real”

    1. Oh wow, Bettie, what a beautiful comment! I certainly aim to “speak truth”, though I doubt I naturally have a heart full of love. It must stem from the way God equips me to write heart to heart to connect with my readers. Thank you SO much for leaving a lovely comment at the ACW site as well! It truly awes and humbles me to be considered in this way. Since knowing you, I feel God is showing me just who my ‘ideal reader’ is, and I tend to keep you in mind once I have pressed published, if not while editing a piece. If it passes the ‘Bettie’ test then my work is done…lol! 🙂 xo

    1. Gayl, you have also honoured God’s hand on my life in a remarkable way. It’s wonderful to have connected with such lovely kindred spirits. Thank you for your sweet, encouraging comment here and on the ACW site. I appreciate you, my friend! 🙂 xo

  1. I think the answer is different for each of us. For me, I want to be obedient to write what God gives, no matter what the context. As for what I want to read, I definitely want my blogger friends to be real, but I also believe there are limits to what is appropriate to share. The bible addresses this as well. I’ve found some blogs to be overly focused on the negative and have stopped reading. But there is a difference between being real and being negative. God works and speaks His truth through our weakness. That is a beautiful thing. Your writing, Joy, is always a beautiful thing! I’m always encouraged and pointed to the Father when I visit here. God bless you.

    1. June, I truly value your wise words here. They bring a holy balance to the points being shared. This wasn’t intended to be a definitive article but a way to stir thoughts and reactions and to initiate debate, which it has. My feelings are closely aligned with yours. There are definitely “limits to what is appropriate to share”, and the manner of our sharing is important as well. This is a key truth for me: “God works and speaks His truth through our weakness. That is a beautiful thing.” Amen, my friend! I’m heartened by the way you perceive the transparency of my writing, because my goal is always to point toward the hope and encouragement we have in Christ, especially during life’s trials and tribulations. I always appreciate the gently open way you share your faith and how it speaks so beautifully of God’s work in you. It reminds your readers to lift their eyes to Christ, no matter what they may be going through. So blessed you stopped by to leave such an insightful comment. Thank you, sweet friend! xo

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