Did Not Know That About Myself

107,187 words in.

I’ve heard other writers talk about how issues they didn’t know they had can show up in their writing, unbidden, like notes from an intimate therapy session suddenly posted on a public bulletin board. But I didn’t think that was happening to me until this morning, when I realized that my treatment of two of the male characters in the novel I’m working on echoes a pattern of behavior from my youth, which itself stems from how my father treated me when I was little.

It shocked me, to think that something I wrote pointed so directly to emotions and expectations that I didn’t know I had. I felt — I feel — very vulnerable now, as if when I finish the novel and hand it over to its first readers, they’ll be able to decode everything about my personality, know all the parts of my self I try to keep hidden in everyday life.

I don’t think I can stop feeling vulnerable, but I tell myself that being vulnerable is part of the writing, that putting these parts of myself down on the page is what makes the characters come alive, that any book that didn’t have more of me in it than I’m comfortable with probably isn’t worth writing. I could be lying to myself, but I hope it’s true.