Originally published on 2 February 2012
Writing from one’s past is more than a matter of memory. It is a matter of self-censorship… or rather, uncensorship. It is remembering not just what you did but why you did it. It is thinking of everything that was so important then, and realizing how insignificant it is, now. It is, most of all, taking all of the rationalizations, justifications, and fictions that you’ve made up over the years, stories that you’ve told yourself in order to live in relative sanity, and recognizing them for the lies they are. In this world, the world of an Artist telling the Truth of his childhood, there is no such think as a white lie or an exaggeration. They are the falsehood-as-sunglasses, designed to keep the sun from burning your eyes into a smoldering pile of ash.
It is a dangerous mission, descending into the past without the benefit of safety gear, and it may be why so many writers are depressed. In examining and creating believable motives, we must first unearth our own.