Truth and Honesty

“‘What is truth?’ said Pontius Pilate, who probably wrote elegant essays in his spare time. I would be more willing to attach myself to the word ‘honesty’. We may not ever be in possession of the truth, but at least as nonfiction writers we can try to be as honest as our courage permits. Honest to the world of facts outside ourselves, honest in reporting what we actually felt and did, and finally, honest about our own confusions and doubts.”

That’s a line from Phillip Lopate’s To Show and To Tell, a craft book on creative nonfiction and obviously a line in my commonplace book. This struggle for truth I’m on. This constant trying to get it right, to the best of my memory, well, it’s a slippery slope. A hard time. And more and more I’m wondering about being the most honest version of myself. Regardless of how others want to claim my truth, their truth, the truth. Whatever the truth is.

But am I courageous enough? That’s the real question. Here I am twiddling my thumbs, asking for others to give me permission, but for what? To speak my own honesty? To give myself permission to go there, wherever there is?

I think I’ve been seeking permission for too long. I think we probably all have, in our own small ways. I think it’s time to be done with that. Be courageous in your honesty. Courageous in your doubts and confusion. Let them have their truth.

M.

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