For me, the bubble extends to my laptop. If you are close enough to read what I'm typing, you have entered restricted airspace. Everything I type is not meant for public consumption.
When it comes to writing, there's a different level of privacy that gets invaded. And often, it's more embarrassing than the size of our clothes or the balance on our checking account.
Honest writing requires that we lay ourselves bare, expose our faults and flaws and idiosyncrasies. The only way to portray realistic humans is to be one. And sometimes, that means exposing things that we consider private.
Part of the masters program is writing a thesis and an argument "defending" your thesis. For a creative writing degree, I have to write a creative thesis and the "argument" is essentially how I got here, what else is in the market that compares to what I want to write, and how I'm going to write it. I just finished writing the argument. It came to approximately forty pages. That's thirty-nine pages of stuff I like to keep in my personal bubble and one page of references.
- How did the masters program change me as a writer?
- How did it change what I write about?
- Why am I the only person who can write it?
But it's cathartic to write about it, and it's healing to share it with others (in this case my professors). It leads to a deeper understanding of self which translates into stronger writing. More realistic. Satisfyingly true.
I'll never be comfortably talking about the cost of my house, my checking balance, or the size of my Payless shoes. They'll always be in my personal bubble space, but I'm more comfortable talking about my flaws, my bad experiences, and my terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days, because that's where the story is most interesting. And the most personal.
Writing isn't for wimps. It's just not. But if we're lucky, it is an adventure, and we get some great people to go on the ride with us, and that's when the risks and the sharing and the honesty get paid back in full. Because sometimes, we reach another person. Flawed character to flawed character. Human to human. Connections.
That's what writing is all about.