Hello again from the Writing Studio!
(Spoilers ahead. I ruin the end of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.)
Hopefully everyone can remember a book or article that connected with them on an emotional level. One that either made them happy or sad, or moved them to action. That is what happens when writers allow themselves to be vulnerable on the page.
Vulnerability is something we all struggle with as humans. There comes a point in all our lives where we learn it's better to build walls and hide ourselves away; where we make "self preservation" our primary goal. But it is this very psychological shift that I believe all artists (regardless of medium) are called to counter act. We are all the check on society. The counter-cultural litmus test to ensure we're on the right path. And that's a huge responsibility. But if we forget how to feel, then we forget how we make others feel, and at the end of that road is the Ayn Rand utopia where 98% of the world dies/is plunged into darkness so the 2% can live free in secret (yes, that's how Atlas Shrugged ends).
For a Biblical example, the majority of the Bible is God/Jesus telling humans they love them, and asking them to love them in return. How's that for a divine example of vulnerability: an all powerful, all knowing, supreme being asking its own creation to love them back--and dying to prove their love. (Am I oversimplifying? Of course I am. This is a blog post.)
Without vulnerability, all our relationships would fail: including friendships, marriages, and parenthood. It is the basis for almost every interaction we have with other humans (and some domesticated pets). And we, the artists, are called to be the example for the world ("We love because He first loved us." 1 Jn 4:19).
I cannot count the number of books that I have read that have so little "emotional currency." The author was either unwilling to connect with their readers or they took a short cut and wrote fluff that risks nothing. And as someone who has written their fair share of fluff: risk nothing, gain nothing.
In the words of the immortal Carrie Fisher, "Start with a blank page and bleed." Even if you're not an artist, we can take this into our daily lives and "bleed" with our friends, our partners, and show our kids healthy ways to deal with feelings (because at some point we have to stop throwing tantrums, right?).
So go on...bleed...