I've been doing a lot of writing lately. I'm facing the question of how to put my work out there without hurting any one's feelings though.
I wanted to send in this piece I wrote to Newsweek's My Turn. When I read it to my writing group they said that I needed to read it to my husband because it was humorously critical of him. They felt I needed his approval to put it in public print. So I asked him if he would listen. As I read, I got a few nervous laughs from him, some criticism at my "poetic liberty" with some of the facts. Finally about two paragraphs from the end he said he'd had enough. If I was going to tell a story tell the truth.
Well, that's the dilemma as I see it. Although I was exaggerating some, the truth was hurtful to him. He looked totally defeated by the piece and deflated too. I felt horrible. It was a joke at his expense. I finally apologized enough that he perked up, but I know the truth of the essay will stick with him and hound him.
It's the same way with most of my non-fiction pieces. Although I may not always see clearly, I report things as I see them. How do you write what's in your head and your heart, make it interesting and engaging and your truth, without stepping on any toes?
I'm going to keep thinking about this. But in the meantime I'm going to keep writing those things that I feel inside that have to be put on paper. I just may not share them as freely.