Updated on September 28, 2015
Writing – a mask or an unveiling?
Edie Melson recently posted this graphic for media sharing by her followers. The photograph she chose aptly portrays E. B. White’s words. Writers do look through windows or hide behind portals.
The graphic got me to thinking about another oft-repeated writing quote: “Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.”
There’s another version, attributed to Ernest Hemingway that says, “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”
Though writers these days are more likely to sit a computer, the point of the quote is the same. Writing does require the writer to unveil or mask his deeper thoughts and beliefs.
Quote investigator found evidence that others have used the bleeding vein quote. Sportswriter Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith used it in 1949. Before that, Paul Gallico wrote in his 1946 book Confessions of a Story Writer.
It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader.
Truthfully it doesn’t matters so much who originated the quote. What matters is that writers do indeed give up a part of themselves with every word they put on a page.
Sometimes we wear a mask and vicarious walk through our character drawing on feelings and experiences to infuse our stories with emotion for our readers. Consciously or unconsciously, what we write can reveal (and sometimes purge) our personal deep feelings, hurts, and pains.
Is writing a mask or an unveiling? I believe it can be both.
What do you think?