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Season Four of Queen Sugar and the Courage It Takes to Write


I find myself constantly thinking about the current season of the “Queen Sugar” television show.  The subject of this season will be of particular interest to you if you happen to be a writer.  The problem that the writer character is facing just helps me realize just how much courage it really takes for a writer to write.  The troublesome events that are happening to my favorite character is actually starting to disturb my thoughts.  Nova Bordelon is a journalist on the show and she’s just published a book.  Unfortunately, not everyone is happy about the book; particularly her family, because it tells some embarrassing details about practically everyone. 


Needless to say, as a writer, this has given me much to think about.  Being an author myself, I can completely relate to the dilemma that Nova currently finds herself in for having shared “her truth” with the world.  No writer wants to have to censor themselves in the way they express their creative work, whether it’s fictional or non-fiction writing.  It takes courage to go against the grain and write in spite of opposition.  But does an author have the right to expose details about people when they have no say in the matter.  At what point does courage end and presumption begin?   





Courage Versus Presumption


I learned a long time ago that writing takes courage.  Long before I started my journey as an online writer, and self-published author, I read the book The Courage to Write by author Ralph Keyes.  One particular chapter in the book actually addressed some of the same problems that plague the Nova character, as well as many real life writers and authors.  But I doubt that every writer shares the same opinion on the matter.    Keyes quoted William Faulkner as saying:  A writer’s only responsibility is to his art.”  I don’t know if I ever believed that point of view, but if I did, I certainly don’t believe it now.


Which Secrets Are Really Yours


In one of my own novels (Skipping Childhood), I share a great deal of my personal experiences from having grown up in the foster care system (I also created and devoted a related blog to the book and the subject matter of the book).  In doing so, I convey quite a bit of unflattering details about certain individuals and how our paths crossed.  But I made a very specific point of trying not to be too transparent about identities, especially since much of the story was purposely twisted around.  I shudder to think of all the lives I could have blown up, had I wrote things exactly as they happened, and identified everyone concerned. 


Although I’m a writer and I understand the Nova character’s perspective, I strongly disagree with the way she laid all her family’s business completely bare.   I think it was a violation, even for a writer, but that’s just MY opinion.  What about yours? 


If you’d like to hear more on this subject, follow this link to my article on Medium where I share additional thoughts on the subject.  You can also check out the related Youtube video on my Video Book Talk channel.  And don’t forget to leave your comments and viewpoint. 


Do you agree or disagree with what Nova did?


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