After dropping my husband off at work, I made my way toward the gate of the Army base to head home. There was a lineup of slowly moving cars waiting to exit through the partially closed gate.
There must be some kind of threat, I thought, as I drove slowly toward the gate.
I Need to See Your ID
Just as I was about to reach the gate, a soldier dre ssed in camouflage jumped in front of my car, with his hand up, a silent gesture that clearly indicated that I had no choice but to stop immediately.
A moment later, another soldier approached the driver’s side of the car.
“I need to see your ID,” the soldier calmly stated.
“Sure thing,” I replied, as I reached for my purse, pulled out my military dependent ID card and handed it to him.
By Order of the Base Commander. . .
“By order of the base commander, you need to exit your vehicle,” he informed me.
I got out of the car and stood on the side of the road and watched as one soldier searched my glove compartment, and two other soldiers looked through the trunk of my car, before giving me permission to leave.
Later that Day. . .
A bit later that day, I went back on base to go to the commissary.
“Here, let me get the trunk,” I said to the bagger who had helped me to my car with my groceries.
As I opened the trunk, I gasped, when I saw stacks of photos on canvas of naked, emaciated men.
Shocked, I quickly flipped the photos over, hoping the bagger hadn’t seen them.
My Husband Had Some Explaining to Do
“Honey, why are there photos of naked men in the trunk of our car?!?” I asked, as soon as my husband answered the phone.
“Oh, those were for a Holocaust display I was working on, but I decided not to use them because I thought they might be too disturbing.”
And then I remembered. . . the soldiers who had inspected my car. No wonder they spent so much time looking at what was in the trunk.
What I learned through that experience is that when we least expect it, our “trunk” may be searched, and our secrets that appear to be safely hidden away, will be exposed.
The lesson in this for writers is that if you’re less than ethical in the content you create, you’ll eventually be found out. And embarrassed. . . or worse.
Are any of these shameful things hidden in your writing?
I’ll be the first to admit that it can be hard to come up with compelling content on a regular basis. It takes time. And effort. And there’s so much content out there already; why not just “borrow” a bit of it? You know, grab something and change a few words here and there. Who would ever know?
Here’s the deal: if you do this, it will eventually be discovered, and the dirty little secret hidden in your “trunk” will be exposed.
Some writers write about hard things. Horrific things. Tales of abuse. Others write about inspiring things, heroic feats that warm the heart.
Blogging in particular opens up the opportunity for everyone to share about the events of their lives, and often this sharing helps to bring hope, healing, and inspiration to others.
But some writers make things up. For example, some writers exaggerate their accomplishments. One place this happens is on the “about” page on websites.
The about page on your site should tell people about who you and your company are, not who you wish you were.
Though you don’t have to tell people you dropped out of high school, if that was your reality, don’t pretend to have an advanced degree.
Or maybe you won a writing contest in the third grade. That doesn’t make you an award-winning author.
It’s fine to write about aspirations, as long as it’s clear that’s what you’re doing, but in order to avoid embarrassment and loss of credibility in the future, cut the crap. Write the truth. Be honest about who you are and what you’ve done.
If you’re honest in what you write, you’ll never have to be embarrassed about what your readers might discover when the content in your “trunk” is unexpectedly exposed.
Question: How have, or would you respond if you discovered a writer you admired was less than honest? Click here to comment.