The Significant versus the Superficial

Earlier this month when I wrote about recognizing the need to ‘go deep’ in my writing, to extract words that are uniquely my own, I reinforced my conviction that nothing significant comes from the superficial. So this week when Toni McGee Causey prefaced her question about ‘Comfort Reading’ with three poignant pain-filled vignettes it was as if her words were aimed directly at me.


And then she said, “Write…for her… for him… for us.”


I’ve been brooding over her request. There is a cliché about facing one’s demons. If I descend into that part of the abyss where empathy resides, if I stay in the depths long enough to write what will be significant, who will I be when I resurface?


About storytelling Toni says, “We need to connect. We need to both transport somewhere other than our own daily circumstances and to connect to others, to know that someone out there understands us. Understands our fears, our desires. We need to escape, without physically abandoning our family and friends. Stories do that. We need the hope, the connection, the dream.”


She’s right, but storytelling for that purpose involves risk. Writing despite the risk takes courage. 


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

2 thoughts on “The Significant versus the Superficial

  1. I read Toni’s post, too. Thought-provoking, for sure, and I totally agree with you that such writing involves risk (love your comment “who will I be when I resurface”). Scary stuff, that.

  2. I found it moving to be put in that victim’s shoes then asked to write her story. I kept wondering if I could go there. Then I remembered that I have, every time I write a scene that scares me. But that’s after I’ve written every other scene until there are only those frightening ones left.

    The first time it happened, days passed before I realized the monumental mountain I’d just climbed. I felt pretty good about myself — until the next story came along.

    I think Toni has it right. We have to write from that place if we want our fictional stories to feel real.

    Thanks for giving me more to think about, Careann.

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