Hiding Behind Fiction

My wonderful husband, Dan, proofreads and (tries to) edit most of my work, both fiction and non-fiction. He is a former journalist and newspaper editor so his eagle eyes temper my spelling and grammar mistakes. His editorial comments, however, sometimes cause us to butt heads.

For my fiction writing, we came to an agreement long ago – I ask him for exactly what I want when I hand him something to read, i.e. “proofreading only – no editorializing” or, for an early draft of a story, a more general “does this work as a whole?” and let him hammer away.

My nonfiction, like this blog, is a bit more frustrating for us. I am not comfortable writing nonfiction – I like the anonymity and freedom that fiction affords (plausible deniability, anyone?).

This blog began as a way for me to explore my thoughts about writing and my relationship with it. I didn’t think anyone would actually read it. I write how I speak, in a conversational tone. And anyone who has spent any time with me knows that I don’t usually go on a straight path from A to B when I am speaking.

And I think that writing as I speak is fine for this blog, even if the entries aren’t completely polished. Dan thinks I should work on them more – spend more time as I do with my fiction – to make each entry more coherent.

I refuse to do this – one, because it would feel like work, not fun – and two, I don’t want to spend time I could be working on fiction reworking non-fiction. Fiction is my craft – it’s how I explore issues and fear and pain. I use the veil of fiction to get to truth without worrying about exposing myself in the process.

This blog is just me talking in real time, as myself, no filter, no editing.

Why do I bring this up now?

Today I was finishing another of our new house projects: removing the old wallpaper from our dining room. Dan and I were chatting as he played nearby with our daughter, Mia, and dog, Darla.

Somehow the conversation turned a bit blue and I was coming up with paper-size analogies for men’s penises (tabloid, legal, A4, PostIt notes). We laughed and laughed, and annoyed Mia when we wouldn’t tell her what was so funny.

Dan said I should write something in the blog about these analogies.

I immediately resisted.

I can’t write about such things as myself.

I couldn’t let people (my family! my friends!) know that I know that there are different sizes of men’s penises out there. Heavens no.

I have a reputation to uphold…no wait, that’s not right…

I’m not that worldly…that’s not right either.

I’ve only been with my husband. Ha!

Oh, hell.

This is why I write fiction. Plausible deniability.

Nothing in my fiction stories ever happened to me. I just read a lot and have a really, really good imagination.

Yeah, that’s it.

One thought on “Hiding Behind Fiction

  1. Jenny you make me laugh. I too keep seperate my “serious” writing from my blog and for my blog I write as I would speak from a formal stuffy voice (hear my father in my structure) but the thoughts flow free.

    I related to a lot of other things in this one too. Keep it coming.

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