It’s been a long time since I’ve had an in-depth conversation about my writing with anyone in my direct surroundings, offline. I expect most people to know I still write and I assume most just don’t know what to ask. On the other side I also don’t freely talk about it because of the subject matter I include in my books. So we just rarely broach the subject.
People outside of those who I interact with online don’t know about a lot of things about me which I let free through my writing. I’m not out as queer, seriously contemplating polyamory, or interested in some aspects of kink. Those close to me know I’m Autistic and have ADD but outside of some basics about it, they don’t know much about how it affects me. They don’t know my views on disability, neurodiversity, gender and sexuality, and more. They don’t know how it informs my writing. On top of that I’m also a pretty private person. One who’s started writing about sex in my latest WIP which includes graphic intimate scenes. I just don’t know how to talk about any of it with my family. I barely know how to talk about it to my close offline friends.
Writers often put a lot of themselves into their work, if we want to or not. It just happens. But also, my writing is a way to explore things I can’t otherwise. It’s a way to vent, to fantasize, to process, and more. It’s cathartic. Meaning when you pick up one of my books, like with plenty of authors, you will pick up a piece of me that’s deeply intimate. It won’t be with every story I write, but through plenty, you get to read a page out of my inner world, out of my experience of life, a peek inside my mind.
Exactly the things I tend to keep hidden because plenty of me is simply alien to those around me. And I don’t always know how to deal with that. I don’t know how to deal with my own family condemning parts of me just because they don’t know they’re what make me me. They’re other people’s flaws and bits of shame. How am I supposed to show them these parts of me when they ridicule and debase them in others?
And honestly, aside from a few close friends, I think it’s just best for everyone offline to forget I write. I miss talking about all my ideas and the things I learned about the world and myself as I put my soul into those pages. They don’t need to read anything. They don’t want to know me that intimately. I’ll miss expressing myself so openly to them and sharing my pride for every step towards a goal I’d always thought out of my reach, but perhaps it’s for the best.
Because if I’m too much for them, then honestly they won’t be able to deal with my books either. Until I can be all of me, unapologetically and in the open, my books will stay a secret to them. My penname unknown. As lonely as I feel to say this, from now on, they’ll have to earn that right to know me this intimately, and read the words that leave me unveiled. All I ask is your goddamned respect.