Here is the thing. Truth.
I saw an Instagram post by awesomeness herself, Elizabeth Gilbert announcing that she’d be teaching one section of a course that Martha Beck was having. I thought for approximately two point nine seconds before deciding to take it. After all, what did I have to lose? Why not see what an online course was like? What else am I doing on Tuesdays from 1-2:30 that I can’t do on Wednesdays from 1-2:30?
Well. Well, well, well. What a fucking thing. The course is offered in three sections. The first being called “Truth.” Now, I am a pretty truthful, warts-here-for-your-viewing- pleasure-tell-it-like-it-is kind of girl, but what I learned from this five week dive, is that the more truthful you are, the better your writing will connect to someone.
It’s not like I haven’t experienced this right here on this blog. It’s not like when I teach advertising students, I don’t teach them about “the compelling emotional truth” and how that’s what you gotta have in an ad to make people connect. It’s not like I haven’t been doing this my whole life (Jesus, someone help me throw out those whiney, but truthful journals stashed upstairs in the third floor closet).
BUT, see Martha has secrets. I mean, they’re not like secrets she won’t tell. And she did, and this woman is brilliant, and skilled and experienced at driving a big-ass four wheel SUV through your pretense. She forced our hands to grab big chunks of our deepest selves. With “I never thought of it that way” examples that had me all like, “HOLY FUCKING SHIT,” and homework that was like having a few therapy sessions, she showed me new ways to get to the truth. This was the money shot for me–that there are like a bajillion avenues, blocked roads and tiny little paths that can lead you to find the real stuff that lives inside your most guarded areas, and if you can uncover those, and put them to paper (or computer screen), you’ve got something BIG, something that other people will read because it WILL BE TALKING TO THEM. Because they have all those protected places too, so they’ll understand. IT’S THE LANGUAGE OF TRUTH. And t’s like any language–you have to study it to learn it, you have to practice, and it takes real time to become fluent.
So, did I know all this before the class, yes. I knew the truth was the thing. I did. I knew that. BUT THIS IDEA THAT THERE ARE MANY WAY TO GET TO THE TRUTH, WHICH WILL TAKE YOU TO THE TRUTHIER TRUTH, THAT’S WHAT I LEARNED.
Also, I learned that people are amazingly resilient. And that many of them signed up for this course! An online community is an extraordinary thing. The kind of love that’s shown to people is palpable. I really can’t believe the tenderness you can feel for someone you have never met in person, and who only lives in Facebook photos and words. There is only one word for it and that is lovely.
Tomorrow is the Elizabeth Gilbert class, which is the whole reason I signed up for this class to start with. But she couldn’t be better than what I’ve experienced in these last four classes. All hail Martha Beck and all the LightWriters. Gratitude, guys. This was a big bowl of pasta with garlic, olive oil and a generous heaping of parmesan, bread and butter on the side, for me. In other words, heaven.