What’s Whitman’s "perfect candor" anyway? I’m interested in an imperfect candor, hesitant, skeptical of immodesty, equally concerned with the rigors of art and the illicit pleasures of confession. My faults are interesting and worthy in as much as I can essay them artfully as landmarks in human topography, permanent things that outlast the weather, that will be here for the next generations to be troubled by, maybe care about. An imperfect candor might know when to shut up, or when (and how) to unpack a fault and rummage inside, and find something beyond the shock or the titillation of confession. The autobiographical essayist dwells in the differences, and the distance, between frankness and art.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
On being frank
I write a bit about candor and autobiographical essays here at Brevity's Nonfiction Blog: