A few years ago I was given a book written by another bereaved mother. I opened it, ready to share her grief experience. But as I turned the pages, even though the story was beautifully written, I felt something was wrong. In the very last chapter, I understood what was missing. It was openness.

The author had shared the sorrowful story of her baby’s death due to SIDS, but she told it as if she were standing on the outside looking in. She described the various scenes very well. She had an enviable command of the English language and I could visualise the mother discovering her child who was no longer breathing. I imagined the ambulance drawing up outside her home to take away her dead baby. I could see everyone present at the funeral. But I couldn’t feel the emotions of the mother.

When a story is told from the outside, and no feelings are revealed, it is difficult to connect with the story. It doesn’t touch us so deeply. We know it is sad because of the basic facts, but we can’t step into the mother’s shoes and feel what she felt. We don’t make an emotional connection.

In the very last chapter of the book, the author describes meeting her editor to discuss her finished manuscript. The editor pointed out that the mother had written her story without being open and revealing. She hadn’t shared her feelings. Why had she done this? She couldn’t share her feelings with her readers because she couldn’t face those feelings herself. She didn’t want the pain to flood over her so she was keeping it at arm’s length.

While she was talking with the editor, the author realised what she’d been doing. She admitted her intense sorrow, and she broke down and cried properly for the first time… and the story became real. All of a sudden I could feel the depths of the mother’s pain, and was reminded of my own sorrow. And I cried too. We became sisters-in-grief.

It is very risky being open. First we have to face ourselves. Then we might worry what others will think of us. Someone might criticise. A couple of people have said I should never have written my own grief book. I was told that my private sufferings should have been kept to myself. It’s not the 'done thing' to reveal such intimate thoughts and feelings.

I used to hesitate before hitting ‘publish’ when writing a blog story, especially one about grief. I don’t any more. I have discovered that there is great value in being open. When we are honest and revealing, our writing becomes real, and we connect with other people. And that’s exactly what I wanted to do when I first set out to write my grief story. (I am not saying my writing is perfect. In fact I think it could be greatly improved.)

Of course, there are times when we can't or don't feel the need to be open.

I can write very openly about grief and many other aspects of my life, but there are still some things I am reluctant to share and write about with truth. Other people are involved in these stories and I can't violate their privacy. I guess no one can be completely open about everything.

And there are times when openness is unnecessary. It depends on what a person is writing about. If a blogger is sharing recipes, then a reader may not want to hear the deep stirrings of the blogger's soul, whenever she clicks on for the latest recipe.

But I rarely share a recipe. Usually I want to connect with readers on a deeper level. So even though it is risky and scary, I try to be open. 

Isn't it just as well I have a family who isn't shy and retiring? 

"I wrote about you today," I say. "I hope you don't mind."

"That's okay, Mum." 

My family? As long as I follow our blogging rules, they don't mind me being open at all. They're writers too. I guess they understand.


How do you feel about openness when writing? Does it have a place in your blog? And when you read, how do you feel about stepping into someone else's shoes in an intimate way? Does it make you feel uncomfortable? I'd love to hear your thoughts.



That was the last additional Danish letter. Do I hear sighs of relief?? Thank you, Uglemor for your encouragement and suggestion. I enjoyed researching a few Danish words. When I come to visit I will now be able to ask for an apple!

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  1. I must say that opennes in writing is - as you also say - a two ecged sword. It is a heartwarming, scary, thougth or tear prowoking thing, and a great opportunity to get to know one another in the rigth places. But as you also says it is totally misplaced in eg cookie recipes if this is the main purpose ant the title of the post. Maybe it's
    a case of everything in its rigth place. I at least would not have had you not write your grief posts, they are a part of you, as is the continuing story of St. Josephs couch, and your running, and ... and ...

    Now that you're out of letters - even my strange Danish ones, which you have handled with grace and eloquence, you have deserved a break (but not too long) before taking on the numbers - or any other subject of your choice.

    May Mary smile at you and your family during her month.

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    1. Ugelmor,

      Yes, being open can lead to lots of feelings being shared, and helps us get to know each other better. I agree that it's good in the right place. I felt I needed to be open to write effective grief stories. At the same time I was scared that those people who haven't experienced grief might be put off. But I have found that readers have been very kind and accepting.

      St Joseph's couch... Its days are numbered! Our new lounge suite should arrive very soon. I will be sad to see the old one go because it has so many memories attached to it. But it's time to move on!!

      I really enjoyed the challenge of this Danish extension. It was a little harder than the main challenge because I couldn't find many Danish words starting with these letters. Maybe I was looking in the wrong place. Anyway, I wrote something which is the main thing.

      I love Mary's month. May Mother Mary smile on you and your family too. I love how you expressed that! Thank you.

      Delete
  2. It's an interesting topic, and not one I'm sure I have an answer for. Personally, I write to amuse people, so openness isn't necessarily the most important ingredient.

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    1. Kellie,

      I think you provided the answer. The need for openness depends on the purpose of our writing. I want to share feelings with my grief stories. Amusing people is very different. When I write funny stories the only thing I am open about is how silly I can be! We can't always be serious. It's good to amuse readers too.

      Delete
  3. So much to ponder...
    Very thought provoking.
    Most of what I wrote my extended family does not read. ( sibs, etc...)Unless they stumble on an e-zine article by accident...which has happened 2-3 times, but it's very rare.
    However, I was quite excited to see my first mag article a few years ago appear in actual black and white print ( ! ) on "homeschooling boys" ...so excited to get it delivered right to my mailbox.
    Hubby read it. Liked it and was happy for me...he was very proud but in terms of actually discussing what I'd wrote, he kept saying, "Well, it's all common sense suggestions...etc..." Okay, fair point, but "tell me how you like the way I said it"....he was kind of like a wall in that regard. He's maddening like that. It's not like he didn't like it of course. Or that he disagreed with any of it, of course. But I wanted his reaction to how I described our kids, how they learn, their idiosyncrasies, anecdotes I put in there, etc... Nope. He just kept saying, "It's great; I'm proud."
    Okay.
    so I show my sister. What's her reaction?
    1. "who on Earth gave it this dopey title?"
    (um, me. and I kinda thought it was a good title. and the ed didn't change it...so I guess maybe she liked it....I said in a small voice.)
    2. She found the one thing in the several pg article that I never in a million yrs would've thought anyone would take offense to and focused on that rather than on the myriad of other stories, tips, etc in the piece.
    That one thing was that I said in the piece that I felt my faith foundation was lacking even tho I went to Cath school from gr 1 thru graduate school b/c I was in that age group, as are millions of us, who were educated in the post Vatican II era where "Jesus is my friend" --I felt solid, historical info was never there for for me and that I guess my parents were too busy by the time I came along ( #5 of 5) to really be super involved in my rel education. So that is one area where I really try to focus in my HSing Church history, etc, etc...Bible reading, etc.

    Oops.
    That struck a nerve.
    she was rather offended. This was about 4 years ago and she still hasn't let it die.
    So, I guess even innocuous comments in a piece of writing can sting people when you;d least expect it!
    That taught me a lesson: I don't share my writing with her! Okay, I have not since then. Will I ever? Probably.
    Sue, another lengthy com!
    Thanks for the diversion....now I must run b.c my Kev is having a bday party tonight. You know how the party details take on a life of their own.
    So much to do before 7PM! I've not posted much this week due to the details of party prep. I was planning on linking to the 7QTs but I just don't have time to finalize my post; so I'll skip it today.
    Love ya and thanks for the great post!!
    Have a lovey weekend.

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    1. Chris,

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts at length. I could really relate to them!

      The problem I think is that our lives are so intertwined with others. We write about something that we feel is 'ours' and later realise others feel they have a bit of a claim on our story too. It is so difficult not to offend people. We don't set out to do it, but sometimes that happens unexpectedly just like you described. I guess some people avoid any potential problems by not being open and sticking to safe general topics to chat about.

      I had to smile about your husband's reaction to your article. My husband keeps well away from my blog. I tell him what I write about and he knows he is featured in many of my stories. He just doesn't want to read them! I think he gets embarrassed. Andy avoided reading my grief book manuscript until the very last moment. He didn't say much when he got to the end. Probably he said similar things to your husband! At least he didn't say it was awful. Maybe it's a husband/ wife thing.

      I hope the birthday party went well. It was so kind of you to stop and chat when you are so busy.

      Enjoy your weekend too! xx

      Delete
    2. Aw, thanks, Sue!
      I can get back to "real life" now..post party....Only about a dozen kids plus my two....but still, trying to make it memorable with teh decorations, favors, etc...

      Hope things are great and that your weekend was lovely!

      Delete
    3. Chris,

      Parties are fun, but lots of hard work. I can imagine you are enjoying your return to 'real life'. I hope you got lots of happy memories captured on camera. Maybe you will share them on your blog!

      God bless!

      Delete
  4. Sue-

    Openness in my blog is ALWAYS a challenge for me. It's not that I don't want to connect with others or that I don't want to put myself into my writing, it's just that I keep reminding myself - "this is the internet." Though, I'm not always good at filtering my words when I am talking- I am very good at filtering myself online.

    Maybe because I have seen (mostly through my experience with Facebook in the past) what can happen when there is no filter online. People put things out there that just shouldn't be put out there for all to read. (I've seen people share about their bathroom habits, their problems with their bosses, their complaints about everything and everyone in their life, etc....) I don't want to post anything I might regret later and so I'm very careful and guarded in my blog.

    I'm not sure it's the best way to blog or to build readership- but I can't seem to totally let my guard down so it's how I'll continue to blog. Thankfully, some people have been able to see past my "walls" and slowly get to know me through the things I do share.

    I admire those who can be totally transparent in their blogs and still write appropriate respectful posts. It can be hard to do! For example, your openness is wonderful and has surely helped so many people through grief in their own lives.

    Another very interesting post! Many blessings, Kari

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    1. Kari,

      I guess we need to decide what things are useful to be open about and which ones are irrelevant. I would hate to read about such personal details as bathroom habits! Also, I don't think we read a blog to hear complaints and criticisms of other people, or self-centred wallowing. Yes, those sorts of things have no valuable place on our blogs. We wouldn't want to share everything, and we perhaps we shouldn't.

      When I writing on my blog and wonder about sharing with ANYONE because we are online, I think of my book. That's freely available for anyone to read. So for me, blogging here is just an extension of my book. I'm actually thinking of collecting together a second volume of grief stories and getting them published. The first book needs rewriting in places too.

      Maybe it's a case of deciding when to be open and when not to be. Grief... yes. Other topics... maybe not. So it could be that no one is totally transparent. It might appear that I am, but I'm not!

      It is an interesting topic. We can thank Uglemor for that. I didn't find many Danish words beginning with today's letter, but thought I could come up with something when I saw the word 'openness'.

      God bless!

      Delete
  5. This is something that I wrestle with, too. I want to be open with the beautiful friends I've made through blogging but I don't want my private life to become public property to the rest of the world. I guess the answer could be to have a private blog but I don't want to shut out the possibility of new, beautiful friendships, either.

    I like Kari's thought that people may come to know us slowly by the things we share, regardless of just how open God may call us to be.

    I think that your openness is like a mission, Sue. It's inspired and serves a wonderful purpose.

    God bless, Sue:-)

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    1. Vicky,

      Yes, our lives shouldn't be totally open to the rest of the world. I don't want my life to be public property either. Even when we aim for openness, I think we need to reserve something for ourselves. Occasionally, I feel like rolling up my family and blog, and hiding away from the world. A couple of times I have actually deleted my blog in order to take back my family. I have got overtired and sensitive and want to retreat to a private place for a while. I have always returned to the Internet though, after a little break.

      I don't think we are totally open with all our friends, both online and face to face ones. There is always a limit to what we share with anyone. We do get to know people slowly, and some people get closer to us than others.

      You know me very well, so you also know I don't share everything in my life. But if I do start talking about bathroom habits, please stop me quickly! Wouldn't that be awful reading???

      God bless!

      Delete
  6. Hi Sue, I'm thinking the reason the author you mentioned wasn't open with her story was due to her unwillingness to show emotion. Probably afraid of these feelings she has locked up tight inside and once let out, will she be able to reign them in? Perhaps that's how she keeps herself together and able to move on in her life. A defense mechanism that aids her ability to cope. I pray she is open with her husband, family and friends. It's not healthy holding those raw emotions in. God bless!

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    1. Noreen,

      I think you are so right! Feelings can be very frightening. It sometimes seems much safer to keep them locked away inside us. But as you said, it's not healthy. Feelings have to be faced at some point. The emotion will come bursting out at an unexpected moment. (I have experienced this too.) I think this is what happened in the last chapter of that book. The author did eventually face her feelings. The editor's words triggered a reaction, and she was no longer able to distance herself from the pain. Healing probably began from that point. It was a good reminder for all of us to let ourselves grieve.

      God bless!

      Delete
  7. I am pretty open about my feelings when I write and yet I struggle with this openness when writing blog posts. Often I delete posts I've written in an afterthought. I often forget who my audience is (friends, family, fellow church members). My family is very private. Growing up, nobody ever knew our sorrows and pain and struggles. On the outside, it appeared that we didn't have any family troubles. I'm not sure that's a good thing because as you have shown, its how we connect and bond with others. The trick is to have some kind of boundaries with ourselves. I'm still working on that :) Thanks for writing about openness Sue :-)

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    1. Monica,

      I am sure it would be a lot easier to write our stories openly if we assumed an anonymous identity. We have to think about the privacy of our families when we write with our own names. But then again, if our blogs are anonymous we still aren't really letting others know who we are, but hiding behind an assumed name. It's difficult!

      Other people always seem to have an untroubled life, and look like they have everything under control. I am sure that's not the way it really is. We are all keeping something back. We tend to judge each other on face value, I guess.

      Boundaries... I think we're all working on that one!

      God bless!

      Delete
  8. Your candidness is what makes your blog a must read for me! I feel like I know you though we live a world apart. My teen is very sensitive about me writing of posting pictures of her. I ask her before I post anything - it has to pass her inspection. I can respect that!

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    1. Dana,

      Thank you! Revealing the details of our lives does help us to get to know each other more fully. I always love sharing with you, and reading about your own life on your blog.

      I can understand your teenage daughter's response. My family are used to me and have never objected to any of my stories. But me? If my kids post anything about me on their blogs, it has to pass my inspection first!!

      Delete
  9. Sue, I love the way you write..the way you share your depth of feeling. That's how I found you..through your grief posts on Hannah's Tears. It's so wonderful to connect with someone, to know that one is not alone in whatever sufferings, or joys they may be experiencing in life. Someone else understands..how lovely to share. It's hard to make a "real" friend, if we refuse to give away at least some of our vulnerability.

    I've noticed that the posts in which I have allowed myself to share the greatest depth of emotion and honesty have been the ones which have received comments filled with sharing and openness and even gratitude from others..because someone else knew their pain, etc. And they in turn, comforted, validated me.

    I try to leave my family out of what I write most of the time...even though they never read my blog :) My sisters would be the worst! They would be sure I was writing about them if I wrote anything unflattering at all.

    I think about the books I have loved most, and they are invariably books where the reader really let me into her life..even her soul. Perhaps that's why we so love reading about the Saints.

    Anyway, have you read Cindy's book about her son Tim yet? I loved it! She definitely knew how to let the reader into her life in the most beautiful way.

    Ramble, ramble, ramble... You know it's me before you even see :) LOL
    Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Patricia,

      Thank you for treating me to one of your long comments. I love them! They always feel like special letters from a friend.

      I will always remember your comment on my Hannah's Tears post. It was one of very few I ever get on that blog. I am sure many people read but don't feel able to stop and share. But that is okay. I always hope someone will read one of my posts and maybe recognise the feelings I am trying to express. It's so easy to feel like you are going crazy when grieving. I used to feel so alone and I didn't know what was normal. I would have loved to have connected with another grieving mother.

      "It's hard to make a "real" friend, if we refuse to give away at least some of our vulnerability." I think you are so right. We have to let people see who we are if relationships are to be strong and meaningful.

      Thank you for sharing your own experiences in opening up on your blog. Yes, sharing more openly can lead to some wonderful connections with people.

      I am reading Cindy's book right at the moment! It arrived in the mail yesterday and I am immersed in Tim's story. Cindy is certainly sharing Tim and her life with us in a beautiful way. How could she keep such a special soul all to herself? I am sure some stories are meant to be shared in a very open way.

      Love and hugs to you too, Patricia!

      Delete
  10. Hi Sue,
    I think openness opens the door to grace and healing. If a door is shut what could possibly get in? An open heart is a great quality and I believe it helps both ourselves and others.

    But I guess it depends on the subject matter too - I wouldn't want to open my whole life to the public. So, I guess there are certain things in my life that are off-limits to others.

    It's nice to be able to choose what we share. Could you imagine if everyone in the world could hear each other's thoughts? Scary!! Lol.

    God bless!

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    1. Mary,

      "I think openness opens the door to grace and healing. If a door is shut what could possibly get in? An open heart is a great quality and I believe it helps both ourselves and others." I do like that!

      Maybe there are certain things in our lives we are called to share with others, and some things that are meant to be kept to ourselves. No one would want to know everything about everyone.

      I am trying to imagine everyone listening to everyone else's thoughts. Yes, it would be scary, and chaotic too. I don't think that would be helpful at all. I once heard someone say that if she ever had a bad thought about someone, she felt compelled to go up to that person and confess and apologise. I don't think I'd like to hear such thoughts, and receive an apology. I'd rather not know someone was thinking bad of me.

      God bless!

      Delete
  11. I tend to share too much. Not my aches and pains, I share others aches and pains, and sorrows and heartaches. I habitually step into their shoes and cry for them and with them. I rarely watch the world news which aggravates my husband, however, the reason being it rips out my heart. As a whole I truly believe in helping one another through their healing process.

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    1. Cathrina,

      You have a real gift of empathy. I imagine you are a very understanding friend, as you help others heal. You said, "I rarely watch the world news which aggravates my husband, however, the reason being it rips out my heart." I can see we need to protect our hearts at times. I tend not to watch the news either. But I'd listen when a friend needs to share her pain. Perhaps this is what you do too.

      It's so lovely to see you back on my blog. Thank you for stopping by and adding to the conversation!

      Delete
  12. Interesting things to think about. I tend to be thoughtful and analytical - people who know me irl generally assume I've got it all together =0! It's always been that way, even when I was just a kid. I don't purposefully avoid being open, I judge I'm honest in my interactions and writing, perhaps it's just stoic German genes ;-)

    During our Marriage Encounter weekend, I realized that all of us share feelings, even though our experiences are vastly different. It is through those shared feelings and emotions that we are able to identify with one another. This is what makes you such a gifted writer, Sue.

    As far as anonymity goes, I don't think it necessarily takes away from honest sharing, it's just another venue. I wouldn't write about our unschooling life on a blog that would be found through my parish blog! My poor kids get enough grief already - too many kids in the family, no public school, freakishly large van =) and some obviously non-traditional learners!

    Btw, Cathrina, I totally understand your aversion to the news - empathy is a good thing, but it does cause a lot fo heart wrenching pain! I wake up at night agonizing over people I don't even know - a perfect time for prayer, but sleep is really nice!

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    1. Beate,

      You have made me think more about anonymity. I think you are quite right: "I don't think it necessarily takes away from honest sharing." I just thought about Uglemor. She writes under an assumed name, but I consider her a real friend. Maybe the difference is she shares photos and stories of her home and family. The only thing missing is a real name. When Uglemor comes to visit me (one day) I guess she'll tell me her real name. Uglemor sounds like a real name to me but as it means MotherOwl, maybe it wouldn't be suitable to use face-to-face!

      I am rereading your comment and now I think you were referring to your own anonymous blog, which I don't consider anonymous at all! I wonder why when your family aren't mentioned by name. Perhaps because we have exchanged emails? Yes, there is nothing wrong with anonymity after all. It probably encourages us to share more openly.

      I have toyed with the idea of creating an anonymous blog. It would give me even more freedom to share. But maybe I already share far too much!

      The problems with empathy... Perhaps we need to share and feel, but not at the expense of our inner peace. It would be so easy to get overwhelmed and be tempted to despair. Yes, we need our sleep!

      It's always such a treat to hear from you.

      God bless!

      Delete
    2. Beate,

      Another thought... maybe protecting our hearts from too much feeling isn't the answer to remaining at peace. Could it have more to do with having confidence in God, trusting He is in control, despite appearances, and will bring good out of the pain of others?

      Delete
    3. Yes, the radical trust JP II talks about. Offering up our own sufferings for those of others. Perhaps the helplessness that I feel in light of other's sufferring? That would be pride, though :-/ I am little after all. Yesterday we were discussing the building of the tabernacle in Exodus. If God laid out such a detailed, elaborate plan for His worship, how much more detailed and elaborate His plan for the Universe. It's okay to be restless, as we are on a journey to our final destination. Oh my, what a discombobulated reply ;-)

      Delete
    4. Beate,

      "It's okay to be restless, as we are on a journey to our final destination." Yes, we won't ever find perfect peace here.

      I really love the word 'discombobulated'. So much better than simply 'confused'! Not that your reply was confusing. It wasn't. Thank you for the extra thoughts!

      Delete
  13. Sue,
    I miss you in the blogosphere!

    Hope everything is great. I'm sure you're taking a much needed break after the A to Z challenge!

    Just wanted to come by and say HI!

    xoxoxoxo
    Chris

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    1. Chris,

      Thank you so much for your friendly message! It was lovely of you to think of stopping and saying hello. I appreciate that!

      I have been a bit busy with other things this week, though I did write several posts for my homeschooling blog. I've been spending lots of time with the girls. I've thought about writing a new post for this blog but somehow I haven't yet done that! Maybe I will feel inspired in the next day or two.

      It is Friday afternoon here, and a perfect autumn's day. The sky is blue without a single cloud and it is warmer than it should be. I hope it stays beautiful for the weekend.

      It's Mother's Day here on Sunday. I wonder if it's Mother's Day in the US too this weekend. If so, I hope you have a very special day with your family.

      Love Sue

      Delete
  14. I respect others privacy and write mostly about my faith. I mention my family from time to time, but nothing too personal (except maybe about my hubby - he doesnt mind). And pix of grandchildren!!! of course!!
    Where I get really personal is writing about my childhood. But I am very careful about what I say and who I say it about! I am very open about myself and try to protect others.
    Mostly I just want to share my faith.

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    1. Colleen,

      Aren't we so fortunate in our husbands? They are so obliging and understanding. When I become a grandmother I am sure I will be posting lots of photos of my grandchildren too!

      I appreciate how you shared yourself very openly in your book. I'm sure such sharing makes others feel less alone, and more hopeful about their own futures.

      Thank you for your comment. God bless!

      Delete
  15. I arrived quite late to the party! When I first read this post there were ALREADY so many comments that I figured I had nothing to add... plus things were so crazy busy in my house for awhile that it was not until today that I could really look at what others have said.

    In the meantime, what you wrote has been staying in the back of my mind. To condense my thoughts: at first I thought "well, I'm certainly not very open in my writing."

    Then I felt the Lord reminding me.

    The first "cloistered heart" article I had published (20 years ago) was SO personal that the editor actually offered to let me use a pen name!! After discussing it with my husband, I went on and let my own name go with it. And then a little book grew out of that... and THAT is very personal. However, it is not personal about family members or circumstances or our day to day activities... but 'just' about my own relationship with God.

    In just the last week, I've felt God reminding me of something that has touched me deeply. I remembered that as a young child, I consistently kept two things hidden. My writing, and my love of God. For whatever reason, I had the definite impression that my mother was 'suspicious' of writers, so when I wrote 'little stories,' I hid them. My mother frowned upon my keeping diaries, and even though I did so as a preteen, I hid those also and was very embarrassed about having them. I threw them all out in my late teens.

    Being a student at a Catholic school, I had lots of holy cards and pictures and medals that I was given or 'won.' I kept and cherished those, but always hid them away under socks in a dresser drawer. Mine was an "unchurched" family, and I grew up being taught that 'if there is one thing one NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER discusses with ANYONE, it is religion!!!'

    I have found it an interesting irony that now, so many years later, the 2 things I kept most secret in youth are the 2 things I now share with THE ENTIRE EARTH! So, no (the Lord reminded me), I am not being "un" open.... I am sharing the very things that I grew up feeling were the most intensely personal of all.

    Thank you for a post that God used to make me think of that!

    I hope you're doing well, and I look forward to what you write next!

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    1. Nancy,

      I'm so glad you returned to share your thoughts! I was so surprised to see a new comment this morning. I haven't written a post for a long time so I haven't been on the lookout for comments.

      It seems that openness can mean different things for different people. We can all be open but not in the same way. I share my family and you don't, but we are both very open. Those things which we usually keep to ourselves from fear of embarrassment must be the most difficult of all to share openly.

      I have just read your book, Nancy, and I'm so glad you had the courage to write about the two things most personal to you, sharing them with THE ENTIRE EARTH!!! (including me.) I know how hard it is to let other people inside a journal. I used some of my diary entries in my own book. Those words were originally written just for me. I then decided that if I wanted others to see and feel things just as I experienced them, there was no better way than letting people read some of my entries. I wonder if it was the same for you. I really got such a good picture of what you were experiencing and feeling from reading your journal. I like your description of 'snapshots' from your journey into the cloister. Journey... Journal entries really do show the progression of an experience.

      When I had written the first draft of my book I sent it to a friend for her opinion. "It needs more agony!" What my friend meant was I hadn't shared enough of those very pain filled entries. I hadn't wanted to impose all that on a reader and maybe I was reluctant to share that level of suffering. But my friend was right, and I went back and added in more of the 'difficult' entries. I wonder if you had to pick and choose your entries, not only for their relevance, but also for what you were willing to expose about yourself.

      I am still thinking a lot about your book. In many ways I can relate to your experiences though I never imagined a cloistered heart while seeking to give my life entirely to God. I will have to share more with you another time!

      I am doing well thank you, Nancy! Writing... somehow I seem to have gone a bit astray there. I haven't written anything since I finished the challenge (except for a few less than interesting homeschooling posts!)

      God bless!

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