#8: Personal-Impersonal

It’s been weeks, perhaps months, since I started my second 100-piece stretch of writing. This one is the eighth; I haven’t been writing regularly. But, through a nonfiction writing class that I’m taking, I have been writing with intention, and this has resulted in smaller snippets here and there that make me proud.

I would love to post these on my blog; what is an unpublished essay in a Google Docs folder but a tree falling in the woods? Yet, most of these pieces record intimate details about people who are close to me. As much as I am proud of the work, I am nervous to have these details be public without running them by the subjects first.

I get now the quandary Elif Batuman faces on the nonfiction aspects of her fiction writing. I get the nervousness that Liana Finck speaks of when portraying her family in her graphic novel.

It is hard not to compare my writing exercise with other 100-permutations exercises that others around me are doing. My friend Ritwik is doing 100 soundtracks; he posts them freely as he completes them. All that might hold him back is insecurity around the quality of the tracks. But he puts them up anyway. Or take the Instagram account of Tiantian Xu. Xu is the most prolific 100-permutations practicer I have encountered; she has done the same exercise for hand lettering, digital illustration, motion design, and is now on a 100-day 3D design spree. Her design work doesn’t convey intimate details of others – she posts her work freely to show progress.

Yet writing, specifically non-fiction writing about personal subjects, seems too intimate to publish. And so, at the cost of not being able to show progress, these pieces lie silently in Google Docs.

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