Friday, January 12, 2007

Sometimes truthiness is better

One of the most improtant things in all of my creative work is honesty. And for the life of me, I can't think of anything that could possible be any more important. A creative work -- whether it's a film or a play or a novel or a painting or even a stupid newspaper column -- should endeavor to communicate something real, something significant, something true.

I made a vow in my column a couple of years ago, when I decided that I wasn't going to retire it on the tenth anniversary, to be honest with my readers. In my own words:

As writers – and more importantly, writers lucky enough to find themselves published – we have a responsibility to you, the reader, to speak truthfully. Because this is a column and not a news story, I’m thankfully free of having to ensure that I quote people properly or spell their names right (at least most of the time). But even when writing a rambling, general-interest, opinion-based piece, it is my responsibility to ensure that it is an honest, rambling, general-interest, opinion-based piece. I owe you that much.

Having said all that, I am currently questioning the wisdom of, essentially, confessing to copyright violations in this most recent column. While I fully stand by my new year's resolution to try to right those wrongs by purchasing one CD every two weeks of music I have already acquired illegally, it did occur to me to today that maybe proclaiming that resolution -- and thus proclaiming the illegal acquisition -- might not have been the best choice.

It's the sort of thing that can come back and bite you in the ass.

I'm hoping, of course, that if it should come back and bite me on the ass, that by the time it does, I'll have purchased enough CDs to make the majority of my MP3 collection completely legal. This is, of course, assuming I follow through with the New Year's resolution for longer than one week. Which, given my history with New Year's resolutions, isn't such a safe bet.

So what I'm really hoping for is to not have this thing come back and bite me on the ass. And for me to learn a very, very important lesson from this. Try not to discuss your own criminal activities in a printed newspaper column.

Let that be a lesson to all of you as well.

No comments: