I like knowing the truth, and I generally like putting it out there, whatever it is (it doesn’t always go well, of course). Emily Dickinson, that wise old housebound poet, says we need to let the truth dazzle us gradually, or we’ll be blind. Fair enough, but I prefer to have you lay it on me. Don’t hold back.
Why am I thinking about this? First, student evals. Two nontraditional students ripped me a new asshole (or would that be new assholes, since there were two of them?) on anonymous evals. Again, fair enough, since I “wasted [your] money on bullshit!” So, why didn’t you stop flapping your white wings and step up and tell me so we could negotiate? I am open to it–seriously–I want to make class OK for you. AND–this is what chaps my ass–why were you all nicey-nicey to my face all semester, in that horrible passive-aggressive way? I *hate hate hate* that. Just get it out there, people! Let’s be honest!
Not claiming your truth = chickenshit behavior.
I realize American social conventions do not allow for truth. If people do say it, it’s angry and awful and hurtful (as these evals were), and anonymous. Could we please have some cultural training in how just to say it without being mean? Kthxbye.
Secondly (and more interestingly): characters. Here are two I admire who ALWAYS tell the truth: Heath Ledger’s Joker and (oh yes) Anton Chigurh, from NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (the film version). These men are no-holds-barred, strafe-the-world types, not chickens in any way, and I envy them, as humans and as written creations. I marvel at how those characters are flat-out awful, but so straightforward in their agenda.
It may be that characters who tell the truth are villains, so I guess I’d better get cracking on some villains. I don’t know if I’m talented enough to create a YA Anton Chigurh, but I will aspire. Off to do that now in my WIP, though on a much smaller scale.
And students: suck it up and tell me you hate it. Don’t be chickens.