Dig for the Truth

In the fall of the year 2010, I took a creative writing class at Pasadena City College. I left that class with some great techniques to keep the ‘ole writing wheels turning. I sometimes wish that I could take creative writing over and over again without concern of credit and time. Instead, I am only left with a few exercises that I do my best to practice regularly.

Dig for the Truth is a writing exercise that asks that writers cut the bollocks and dirty their nails by digging into the bloody truth.

It is exactly what it sounds like.

It is an exercise that is both terrorizing and exhilarating.

First off, Dig for the Truth requires that you, as writer, must confront some of the deepest caverns within your existence. There are memories that sit in the attic with dust covered veils. There are memories that we may sometimes feel are better left behind us, in the abyss, or somewhere lost in the space of time of a realm that we rather not re-discover.

But it wasn’t a pineapple…it was a grapefruit. I felt so lied to.

Digging doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone has dirty little secrets. In fact, some people (brace yourself for a cliché) are as open as a book. Yet, digging asks that writers search and dig for something once buried–to seek for a truth that may not be apparent to oneself or the rest of the world.

I wrote my Dig for the Truth as a letter to my father. It was an undelivered letter that I had written many times and it began with a moment as a child. I sat by the window waiting for him to pick me up for the weekend. The phone rang and I was informed that our visit was canceled. And at the age of 6 years old, I sat by the window crying while staring at families play  at the park across the street. My only consolation was a box of Cheezits. I snacked while I continued to cry, staring at children play with their parents. The letter continued from my perspective from the window and as I aged, I still viewed the world as if I was standing there as a child, waiting for my father to come. There have been many times that I wish that I could send that letter, but it is a truth that I still hold on to this day and it is a truth that I, at times, wish to forget, hoping that something wondrous will grow from it’s grave.

Dig for the Truth acts as a catharsis.  It asks to delve up forbidden emotions and it ultimately requires that writers connect to lost sensations that were once so poignant that they instilled fear, shame, and possibly vague regret. Digging for the truth is frightening, but I wholeheartedly believe that it will bring relief.

Reach within yourself and dig. See what you will find.

– Lauren Sumabat


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    I have to say, the most popular poem I’ve written to date has a personal connection to my crappy childhood. I had to connect with that and just poured it out. The poem has never been edited and was a free-write, but it was so powerful I didn’t dare retouch it.

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