This week: Authenticity Edited by: Fyn
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Details matter. They create depth, and depth creates authenticity. ~~Neil Blumenthal
Truth is a point of view, but authenticity can't be faked. ~~Peter Guber
There is a balance between mindful that you don't upset anyone, yet maintaining an authenticity that is not wrapped up in the minutiae of people's judgments of you. ~~Robert Rinder
I think that's because believable action is based on authenticity, and accuracy is very important to me. I always spend time researching my novels, exploring the customs and attitudes of the county I'm using for their setting. ~~Sidney Sheldon
If you're trying to write something that you don't understand and embrace at the very core of you, it's not going to turn out with quite the authenticity and passion it should have. ~~Terrence McNally
So this newsletter, I have a question for the writers of Writing.com. What do you think/ Because, as writers, this, on many levels, has an effect on how we approach our writing, or even, what we write about. First, let me say that I am a huge fan of Tom Hanks. He was recently quoted as saying,
"Could a straight man do what I did in Philadelphia now? No, and rightly so. The whole point of Philadelphia was, ‘Don’t be afraid.’ One of the reasons people weren’t afraid of that movie is that I was playing a gay man. We’re beyond that now, and I don’t think people would accept the inauthenticity of a straight guy playing a gay guy,"
I've been thinking about this now for four days. I think I am confused. But it is a conundrum. These, of course, are my thoughts, my questions. To me, Tom Hanks is an admirable actor. Actors research very much as writers do. Actors act. To me, it would seem that if it is not authentic for a straight guy to play a gay person, would it then follow, that a gay guy shouldn't play a straight one? I don't see why an actor couldn't play any role because it is acting. Granted, certainly, I can understand a gay role going to a gay guy, all things being supposedly equal assuming they go after said role. But what I don't understand is if it is now the thinking that to be 'authentic' that only straight folks play straight roles and gay (or the appropriate member of the LGBTQ+ community to play a given role. That would be the optimum placement, but not, I think necessary because actors do what they do: they act.
This then makes me question whether writers of whichever spectrum can/should write characters of another? Part of me wonders if, given appropriate research, why not? I have written gay, lesbian, and trans characters (after TONS of research) and been told I nailed it and that I must be a lesbian or trans that I 'got' the characters so spot on. I'm not. I just talked to hundreds of people so that I could write intelligently about my characters so that I could create them to be real, so I could capture the feelings, nuances, emotions, reactions, worries, fortes, and foibles of any character. Just as while I haven't ever tried to commit suicide, I have researched and written about suicidal characters. I've written about characters having a heart transplant and I haven't had one of those either. This all, of course, goes the other way as well. I suppose it could go so far as to women writers only writing women characters, etc. Which makes no sense at all. Given a gay role or a straight role and two actors of equal abilities going after said roles; one might suppose that like would seek like and lend a greater truth to the like role. But I don't necessarily think one shouldn't be able to play (or write) either.
Writers write. Actors act. I don't see why it is even a question. But, apparently, the authenticity of what one writes, and what one acts is an issue.
So, I'd like to know what people think. It affects us as writers. Am I off base? Confused? Ridiculous? On point? Or wallowing through the Bog of Eternal Stench? (A Labyrinth reference for those who don't get the reference.)
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Mia - in motion comments: Hi Fynn, I enjoyed your story of picking asparagus. Isn’t it amazing how stepping outside and engaging with nature can be such an amazing stress reducer? And a bunch of fresh asparagus on hand sounds like a beautiful bonus. Yum!
GaelicQueen says: Asparagus - the magical vegetable that fixes what ails you. Wonderful story!
John writes: Awesome Letter from the Editor. I will need to go out hunting for something, besides my dog who loves it outside.
Queen NormaJean loves gardens adds: There is a small state park, and I do mean small, called Asparagus Point near me. Also down by the river in town, if you know where to look you can find wild asparagus. I am still waiting to see if my asparagus made it through the -40° winter.
And has it yet?
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