The friend I referred to in my last blog–, the one who told me to stop writing about writing–, read the entry. He was NOT flattered by my public characterization our conversation. And, I’m probably exacerbating the situation by exposing his, umm, displeasure, shall I say?
First of all, I didn’t even think he was following my blog. Who knew? Secondly, I stand by what I wrote so I’m not embarrassed. But after I hung up the phone, I began to think about it–. Did I inadvertently embarrass him?
This makes me think about an issue that writers, especially memoirists, face when they publish potentially “modified-for-the-sake-of-entertainment” versions of their stories: Do writers betray their friends by including them in their stories?
Giving him the “anonymous friend” distinction bugged him. But it’s not like I mentioned his name or anything, right? After all, I didn’t call him out on the internet, dish details and give our voices international exposure, now did I? But did my innocent actions betray some unspoken trust between us?
I say no. Others may think differently. Having the mind of a writer, I go through life, picking up experiences and capturing details as just as a child might delight himself on the beach lining the bottom of his little plastic bucket with seashells. As I writer, I’m supposed to use every experience I have and relate those experiences into stories my readers can relate to. As a friend of a writer, I believe you inherently know, –at least on some level–, that I may very well use the activities, thoughts and feelings I glean from our mutual association.
In most cases, expect your names to change to protect “the blameless.” Of course, I will camouflage your stories and odd little character traits, but I’m sure they will eventually seep into my work throughout the balance of my career. So, yes, if you know me, like Prego, you’ll be in there.
Don’t think of it as betrayal. And please don’t think I will be, “…strumming your pain with my fingers, singing your life, with my words…” Not at all! It’s kind of fun! I suggest you decide to be flattered that you might have impressed yourself upon me with some trait or situation so unique that it compels me to include a wee vignette from you life into one of my literary works of art!