Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Do You Feel Like You Are Casting Pearls Before Swine When You Write Personally?

From Wikipedia:
"Pearls before swine" and "casting pearls" refer to a quotation from Matthew 7:6 in Jesus's Sermon on the Mount, implying that you should not put what is valuable in front of those who will reject the notion that it has value and furthermore that they will seek to diminish or destroy what you offer.

I get asked that question a lot because clearly I choose to write about vulnerable spots in my life.

And honestly, no I don't.

First of all, I think it's important to define, for you, what are your pearls and who/what are your swine.

I write the stories that wake me up at night. I write the stories that fight their way into a brain full of occupied territory. I write the stories that ask nicely--and then adamantly to be published. I try to honor their determination to be free of my head. So, I guess what I am saying is that I choose to write pearls that are ready to be put on necklaces and worn about the internet.

Certainly I have written many posts from cold, dry spots--those are the essays I hate, but I don't regret. If writing is the record of my existence, I need to have an arch in my character or my posterity will be bored and suspicious. So, sometimes I cast my swine before my pearls just to prove there was swine in me. Because there will be swine in them too. We're all sometimes the swine.

Also, sometimes I am my own swine. When that happens I don't feel like writing at all. I feel void of pearls entirely.

If there is a pearl in me that doesn't want to be cast anywhere to anyone, I am certain that story sits in me clammed up, never knocking or making a fuss about in my consciousness. When it's smooth enough, polished, clear and bright it will come and ask to be presented. I know because I've tried to coax too many pearls and I've been rejected many times. I've also heard them cracking out of their oystery shells--the first sounds of their asking.

And if I were to write something that 99% of my readers dreadfully hated and rejected en masse, but there was 1% who were moved to become something better--those 1% matter to me. It is still worth it. I know because that's happened to me too.

Trust the process you write for, not necessarily the people who read it. And I think you'll be ok.


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