The process itself, of combining one word with another to structure a thought in a way that is communicable, shouldn't hurt. The art of writing is a pleasure and that's why those of us who write are always working on it, either writing properly or thinking about what to write or remembering what we've already written. It is a pleasure and, consequently, it develops a need, a drive, a form of infatuation. What can hurt is the subject we write about and, in the autobiographical field, this is doubly true because matter is ourselves and includes our sorrows and pains. But our life has moments of all colors and if we paint everything black we fall into monotony, so that even the most sympathetic reader will end up getting fed up. In addition, black looks blacker in contrast to a bright color. The biographical story is richer and more interesting if it contains seemingly insignificant segments. It may be that your attention or motivation is focused on recounting a traumatic event, but that doesn't mean that you are just reporting that. Quite the contrary. The more dramatic the events are, the more they need a context that softens them so that, by contrast, they have more impact on the reader. On the other hand, a life doesn't have to have a heavy burden of suffering to be worth recounting. All lives, without exception, are interesting. The crux of the matter lies in the way they are narrated. It is the form, in the end, that engages the good reader. To recap: does this writing hurt? I stated at first that the very act of writing should not hurt. However, other authors (I think many) will tell you that all this writing not only hurts but that, to be of quality, it must hurt. In the next column, we will examine that other point of view.
March 14, 2023