“If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you’re a writer you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act—truth is always subversive.” —Anne Lamott
‘Real’ doesn’t always mean nonfiction. I think there is sometimes more truth in fiction than there is in fact. Whatever you write, be truthful without regard to how it will be accepted. There is time enough after the first draft to decide if there are sometimes things better left unsaid, but don’t leave them unsaid only for fear of what people will think. Truth is sometimes scary. When someone points out a truth, it encourages us to look at our own truths. And sometimes our own truths feel uncomfortable out in the open.
Maybe this is one of the reasons certain books are so often challenged – they point out uncomfortable truths that people would rather not face. It’s easier to ban the book, perhaps, than deal with what they see in the mirror.
“I suppose that writers should, in a way, feel flattered by the censorship laws. They show a primitive fear and dread at the fearful magic of print.”—John Mortimer