Introverted, inwardly-focused individuals that we are, we spend a lot of time examining ourselves and our place in the world, our attempt to understand the square edges that we try to fit into the round holes of life around us.

Even after years of relentless self examination, one of the remarkable things about being a writer is what we can find in ourselves if we’re willing to be honest in the search. The continually-renewed willingness to look at the self… the ability to engage the thornier, weaker sides of our natures… the importance and freshness of the revelations that come as a result of self-study… these are not diminished by time—the discoveries can be pretty breathtaking.

This new degree of honesty does not say “that’s the way I am, get over it”, but requires, instead, a frankness that can be complex and difficult. The exploration is not always pleasant. It means embracing the stickinesses of ourselves, the mean-nesses (in the past, one hopes), the hinkinesses and insecurities. The things that have made us separate, and sometimes threaten to keep us that way.

Hard truths are exactly that: hard. There’s a reason why brutal honesty is brutal.

And yet. The new and ever-changing landscape of ourselves opens itself to our eyes, and gives us richer, deeper visions to share. To be open to the things that reveal us… to put those things on paper… puts us in touch with a greater humanity. It helps to clear the soul.

There’s something amazing about that. Something to be grateful for.