I’ve been reading George Steffanos’s most excellent trail journal, Then the Hail Came. It led me to an epiphany. This isn’t about the Trail per se (although everything in my life is about the Trail right now; I’m saturated in the Trail, it pervades every molecule of my DNA, and I’m sucking it down like air).
It’s about honesty. I was reading one of his entries, a particularly gut-wrenching one, and the truth of that entry, the emotional truth, was palpable. I could feel myself responding to George’s honesty. I could feel the fact that he wasn’t holding anything back. He was just out there, putting it out there, being honest and himself and unafraid to let it be there and be public and be announced.
Jay Lake has the same thing, with his cancer blogging.
I don’t have it.
See, that’s what’s missing. That’s why fiction and I are currently on a trial separation. That’s why I don’t connect with people. Because I’ve always been too afraid of what people were going to think to let my whole truth be out there. I’ve hidden it for so long, out of fear, that I think I’ve completely lost track of what it is. What’s the truth of me?
Can I put it out there? Myself, with all my rawness, my blisters, my shadows, my confusion? Can I do that without really caring who reads it or what they think? It’s not a question of dishonesty, but rather concealment. Castle walls, baby. And moats, and spikes, and dogs, and archers. Keep out. Don’t see me. Don’t see me, then watch me complain because I’m invisible.
That’s my Katahdin: truth. Truth and visibility.