The analogy is very good in fact as what we write are our thoughts, which are normally of course politely and extremely well hidden from public view and safe from prying eyes and ears. Our thoughts are without exception, the most private parts of our body. An exquiste result of water, cells and electricity that produces these invisible, untouchable and deeply hidden notions. So deeply hidden that we often have difficulty sharing them with even the closest people in our lives. ‘I just can’t put it into words,’ is such a common expression.
But as writers we do put these notions into words. That is what we do. Transferring these deeply hidden abstractions, ideas and feelings onto the pages of a book. Often fictitious thoughts, but even then, they are based on our own experiences, beliefs, superstitions or moralities. I know in my own writing I have touched on ideas that have no connection at all with my own life, but in truth, they are all connected to my imagination, dreams, wishes, regrets, hopes and my own experiences of love and hate, life and death, happiness and misery.
Whether categorised as thoughts, emotions, feelings or the mind’s eye, they are all abstract, invisible and deeply seated in our consciousness. Secreted away from any possibility of invasion or detection. However, as writers we strip away all this protection willingly and parade our thoughts to the world. Naked thoughts, stripped emotions and notions bared for all to see.
Of course this can be said of most art forms, and probably more so for the performing arts. But as writers we have the unique ability to delve into the mind and dissect and analyse thoughts in a way that theatre and cinema just cannot do. We are special.
While we are not dropping our drawers and parading ourselves through the streets in the fashion of Lady Godiva, it is true that we bare ourselves intellectually – totally and willingly. By doing so, we are then open to criticism, rejection, ridicule and failure. Occasionally though, perhaps a little praise and a modicum of success. But because we are writers, we understand this because this is what we do – and want to do.