I wish I could say that I immediately internalized the lesson laid down for me by the two Charlies—my landlord and the mighty Bukowski—but I didn’t. Writing honestly is a simple enough idea to grasp but a tough one to implement.
It means not only being willing to write about the time you pissed your pants, but also to write the simple line “I pissed my pants,” not “the familiar warmth of micturition blossomed like a dark, briny lily pad across my trouser front.”
Internalizing that notion took a lot of years, but when asked for a writing tip this is what I always offer: Be honest. Nothing else really matters.
“Truth’ll Set You Free,” Mother’s Finest.
“Tell the Truth,” Derek and the Dominoes.
“Just Gimme Some Truth,” John Lennon.
“Shades of Truth,” Bad Religion.
“Policy of Truth,” Depeche Mode.
“Truth Hits Everybody,” The Police.
“The Truth Whole Truth, Nuthin’ but The Truth,” Ian Hunter.
“The Violence of Truth,” The The.
So be honest: What did I miss? I’m listening.