“When you write, you write out of your best self. Everything else drops away.” Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie is a great novelist who has managed to successfully write for both children and adult audiences. The fact that he has able to capture the hearts and minds of children and adults alike speaks volumes about his creativity and mastery of language. Evidently he has found a way of staying in touch with his inner child whilst grow as an adult and stay true to himself. A firm advocate of writing authentically and being captivated by my own pieces of work when i came across Rushdies words above, it made me think about what part of myself I write from.
Yesterday I posted a blog about people essentially writing for other people and the superficiality that breeds. It seems like this is my season of really unpacking my reasons for writing because today I have been further challenged by Rushdies notion of writing from my “best self”. What is the “best self”?, “If there is a best self what is the worst/ bad self and how do I avoid writing from it?”, and the even more probing question “Is my best self always my true self?”. During my self evaluation session I found that I was unable to come to one complete conclusion, as with most things in the creative world I was able to argue either or. However I was challenged to think beyond simply writing authentically and to probe myself further by thinking about the price I was paying for the authenticity.
So question 1: What is the best self? In my personal opinion the best self is the self that reflects how we were created. I am a Christian and therefore believe that we are created in the image of God. Therefore writing form my best self would involve applying a God perspective to every situation I go through and any ideas I want to present. Now that does not mean I have to write holier than thou at all times and not show any anger or sadness. Instead that would mean that somewhere in that emotion there would be a reflection or implied reflection that ultimately God is in control and lessons have to be learned. I do however understand that not everybody shares my faith and therefore from a non Christian perspective I believe that writing from the best self would involve self improvement. The writing in some way or another would perform a sort of dramatic catharsis and therefore after writing the piece the writer and the reader should be a better person. As a result the writing should not encourage resentment, bitterness or any other emotion that does not have good long term effects.
Question 2: “If there is a best self what is the worst/ bad self and how do I avoid writing from it?” This question largely relates to the answer before and therefore to avoid writing form your worst self, you would need to be aware of any unhealthy emotions or motives for writing. To write just o get a dig at somebody is low and says a lot about a person’s character as a writer.
Question 3: “Is my best self always my true self?”. Now to be perfectly honest I have wrestled with this in my mind and am unable to come to a definitive conclusion. I am partly of the opinion that you being your best is always being true to yourself, but let’s face it sometimes as humans we hit a low and in our vice, bitterness and anger, we see our truest yet darkest and most formidable self. Contrary to Salman Rushdies statement I do not believe that “everything else drops away”. Writing for me is and probably always will be a battle, between words, feelings, expressions. I am personally working to get to the level in my character so that my best self is always my truest self.