So this article about Lilly Wachowski coming out as transgender got me thinking about authenticity in creativity. As you might or might not know, Lilly’s sister, Lana, has been out for years. The Wachowskis brought us the culturally iconic “Matrix” series; gorgeously expansive “Cloud Atlas,” and, most recently, the Netflix Original series “Sense8.”
If you haven’t watched “Sense8,” go do it now. I’ll totally wait for you. It’s an amazing combination of character and taut storytelling, with a core of stark humanity. In other words, it’s really, really good.
Lilly’s “announcement” — she reported she was coerced to come out — had me thinking about what made Sense8 so remarkable. It wasn’t complicated.
It was honesty.
Honesty about human relationships and human frailties; honesty about our strengths and weaknesses; honesty about our fantasy versions of ourselves. It is a show about the universality of the human spirit, no matter the form in which it finds itself.
I can’t pretend to know where Lilly Wachowski was in her personal journey when she and her sister co-created the show with J. Michael Straczynski. But there is a level of authenticity that resounds throughout the work. Is that, perhaps, because Lilly and Lana were embracing their most authentic selves?
As writers, we are the work and the work is us. We can try to distance ourselves from it, and often the longer it sits, the more remote it feels. Once we are out of the creativity bubble, sometimes the work seems like its own entity, sprung from something completely distinct from ourselves.
But when we are creating, we are our own boundaries. We are own limits, and we are our own truths. If we don’t fully accept ourselves with truth, how can we convey truth on the page?
I think the extraordinarily talented Wachowski sisters will have more incredible stories for us in the future, in some part because they are living their truth. And I believe we, as writers can learn from them. Authenticity in life leads to authenticity in your work.
Check out my full-length novels, Her Cousin Much Removed, The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!