One of the best things about creative writing, or even an autobiographical essay about race, clothing, and identity, such as the “Ghetto Child” piece, is the challenge of self-exploration; looking at what exists behind the things that happen and the thoughts and emotions they illicit, and then digging even further to see how deep the thread goes. But at some point things inevitably become uncomfortable, and we hit something that makes us whence and recoil, something that makes us feel uncomfortable.
“That’s not so nice. . .” says a fearful personal inner voice, and then the hesitation to leave it as it is, avoiding going deeper, or even worse, adding a philosophized coda to neatly tie everything together so you don’t have to deal with what may be frightening (this is my vice), enters in effort to preserve our illusions.
I hit this point—hard—and I arrived here looking at what I had written, and re-written, and thought, “that’s not it. . ..” The dilemma comes in the next movement of thought which requires going to that place that’s not so nice in order to find “it.”
However, ending the process would deny the empathy or connection that makes revelation so compelling to read—witness—and personally fulfilling. What ultimately bonds a writer/story to a reader is not a writer/story coming across as perfect, but conveying imperfections and fear perfectly through its characters, or in the case of the “Ghetto Child” piece, digging through the autobiographical to the “that’s it” moment(s) and then writing something that will evoke that the same feeling of insight in readers (you).
This is what great writing does.