Thursday, November 30, 2006

Filters


Filters are good, right. For example, tobacco filters protect smokers from inhaling some of the toxic chemicals found in cigarettes and furnace filters prevent the dust and mold and pollen from blowing into our homes. There are coffee filters, water filters, ultra-violet ray filters, lint filters, charcoal filters, camera filters, e-mail filters, and the list goes on. So, filters are good. Right?

Well, I have a box of filters . . . writing filters. And I really don't like to use them, but I feel I have to. I have father filters, sister filters, general family filters, 'ex' filters, lover filters, friend filters, co-worker filters, moral filters . . .

Ideally, I would love to write with NO filters at all. As a writer, I want to be as honest and as open as possible. I want to write from the truth whether I am writing fiction or non-fiction, for even non-fiction has elements of personal experience, real people, and honest emotions.

But, I feel I need to choose my filters wisely and use them as one uses manners and tactfulness in verbal conversation. I don't speak to my father in the same way I speak to my friend or lover, etc. so I feel I need to adjust the content and context and details to fit accordingly.

This whole process wastes energy, steals from the truth and destroys a lot of creativity . . . but saves a lot of relationships (I suspect).

I think that is why I grew up writing poetry . . . I could express my feelings openly and honestly by using verbiage in unorthodox ways . . . a sort of private code that almost no one understood, but me. I had poetic license.

I don’t know . . . maybe it gets easier with each unedited truth that escapes the tap of my delete button.

Does anyone have any comments or suggestions?

12 comments:

Susan Miller said...

I think I filter myself less and less, or at least that is my desire. Of course, this may lead to unwanted remarks or comments but then I tell myself that I need to explore those, also.

So...in the end if I am real without filters then I can expect those around me to be the same when they're with me. And that's what I want.

Susan

Michelle's Spell said...

Lindy,
This is a great topic. I suspect that we all have some filters to save relationships, but our best writing stems from getting around them. Anne Sexton said that if she could get something painful to herself and/or others on the page in a complicated internal poetry pattern, she'd allow it to happen. For me, it's usually easiest to go with fiction when something is really difficult -- a little more freedom to hide "real" things, but still write about emotional truth. LOVE the picture you used for this one!

Rodney Dangerfield said...

I once taught a business communications class and the first chapter in the textbook involved the idea of "filters." To me, filters get in the way of authenticity. To me, filters tend to create a world of Eddie Haskells. I see you've removed your briefs, Pythia3. Good filtering!

Stewart Sternberg said...

Filters depend on paradigms. They are the result of necessary inhibitions that allow us to coexist. I actually like to think of them as masks or created realities. Some of us are better at manufacturing realities than others.

One alterego of mine, and his opinions do not reflect my own, once said: "I collect other people's masks and wear them on my belt like bloody scalps. Strip a mask and the person under the mask belongs to you."

Jon said...

Filters are useful in avoiding law suits and slapped faces. One can easily filter without being un-authentic...in fact isn't that part of the art of writing?

BUT...it's equally important to appreciate the difference between a writing filter and a writing condom.

Pythia3 said...

Jon, filters work better!

Steven Novak said...

I pretty much never filter myself anymore...

All I have to say is, sometimes filters are a good thing. ;)

Steve~

Erik Donald France said...

Depending on intent and genre, filters are often wise. Truman Capote's Answered Paryers, even excerpts, were enough to create a furor. My preference is for raw and real, but pragmatism dictates most to save some things for later -- especially if one has a number of jobs going at once. Good topic, certainly.

Laura said...

I used to worry about what other people would think. As I age, I do this less and less. I speak the truth, and if you don't like it or agree with it, fine. That's your perogative. But as I age, I feel like I am entitled to my opinions and I speak what I feel, no matter what. If I don't like something, I say so. Don't get me wrong, I do it in a respectful way. But years ago I learned that holding things in is bad for your health, and I just don't do it anymore. I also have always encouraged my children to speak their minds, respectfully of course. That is why I think my kids have never been afraid to tell me anything, even if they know I won't like it. It's their opinion, and they are entitled to it, regardless of how it makes me feel. The whole key to this issue is respect. As long as you aren't deliberately trying to make someone feel bad or hurt them, honestly is still the best policy. If you want people to be honest with you, you in turn, have to be honest with them. Period.

Laura said...

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Laura said...

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Stewart Sternberg said...

By the way "RODNEY"...a bit hypocritical, don't you think..but then you were teaching business communications.

Come play.