When do we tell the truth?
When do we hide behind a little white lie, or lie by omission?
How do we know if it's the right time to be open and vulnerable, or to stay closed and safe?
There were some of the questions covered at the Tell It Slant panel discussion during the WORD Christchurch Spring Festival, opens a new window this past weekend, and I felt honoured that the four speakers - writer AJ Fitzwater, memoirist Lil O'Brien, poet essa may ranapiri, and playwright Nathan Joe - were willing to be so open with their personal truths during this session.
The audience was treated to readings of each speaker's work, and then listened as the four guests openly shared about how their writing has changed over time as they became more confident in their own identities, and how they negotiate the balance of being open and truthful while also staying safe as an individual and as a member of the rainbow community. Hosted by Ray Shipley, everyone spoke with honesty and vulnerability, and from the audience laughter and nods of recognition it was clear that what the speakers were talking about was something that the audience could relate to.
This was a heart-felt session to attend, and although I don't feel it is my place to share the specific details that the speakers shared about their lives and journeys, I would like to share one thing that Lil O'Brien said right at the end of the session:
Vulnerability brings the greatest reward.
Thank you to all the speakers for being vulnerable with your audience. Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly about your writing and your selves, and for letting us know about your ups and downs, and challenges and highlights. We appreciate you for doing this, and thank you for letting us get a deeper understanding of where your writing comes from.