What does it mean to write with integrity?
In one sense, integrity means being truthful and principled in what, how, and why we write. On the surface, this looks easy. After all, most of us know the difference between truth-telling and lying, and the importance of getting our facts right. And we know the difference between the truth of art and the truth of day-to-day life.
However, it's not so obvious. When we create artifice in any genre, we make subtle moment-to-moment choices; we pick a certain slant; we impose narrative order on facts; we light up certain truths and leave others in shadow; we use language and structure to hook our reader. We make such choices as writers in service to our craft and as wordsmiths vying, in a noisy world, for a reader's attention.
In another sense, integrity means writing from our wholeness. There are no arbitrary cuts in wholeness. Not between our body, heart, mind, and rhizomatic self. Not between our past, present, and future selves. Not between human and nonhuman. Not even between living and dying.
The modern, conceptual, slice-dice-and-julienne mind is ill-equipped to write from wholeness. Wholeness is experiential. It includes all beings, all things, and all times. We can't think, or pray, or struggle, or pretend our way there.
Wholeness is something we lean into, tune into, feel into, leap into, relax into. A meditative state can usher us in. So can the simple feeling of being. So can opening our awareness and extending our non-physical feelers beyond the membranes of our body and mind. So can intensifying our creative participation and entanglement with all that is. So can writing in the zone or flow, writing in response to what is, in this moment.
Like truthfulness, wholeness is something we can perceive and practice, moment-to-moment. We come from wholeness and, simultaneously, we flower into it. We are it.
The next time you write, why not lean into your innate wholeness, your integrity, and notice what happens?