Struggling with vulnerability


Lucas North (Richard Armitage) during a sexual encounter with Sarah in Spooks 8.4. Source:


Lately, it seems everything I read about creativity converges in one direction — honesty and vulnerability. I feel like I’ve been honest here as much as I could, but the vulnerability was a side effect of that, not the goal. Then, too, there’s the problem of how often vulnerability turns toward sadness. I’ve got plenty of that but the main point of blogging was never to focus on it (even if I also didn’t want to hide it). Is it easier to be open about negative things? Or perhaps they just push one to write more because they can be unbearable and unspeakable, while happy things can be spoken and shared?

What happens when so much of what I want to write seem to be things I shouldn’t confess?

And when the paradox is that all I can seem to do when I write seriously is confess?

And then I turn to Armitage for inspiration. I watch Lucas North, the much-abused, display his heart on his sleeve — as if he had no choice. That sadness, too, turned out to be a mask he wore for the fear of discovery he lived with every day, but it was never either / or. I wonder if the lesson I used to get from watching Spooks 7 and 8 was all about betrayal and victimization was too simplistic, if there’s not also something there about the ability to exploit one’s vulnerabilities, to make them into something great. And, as Alyssa wrote, about two years ago now, about the ways in which the hero is flawed, impatient, frustrated when he doesn’t get what he wants. None of this happens without a lot of meanness — as Lucas first pursues Elizaveta, then tries to turn her — again, no catharsis, simply another shell, another mask. More manipulation?

Richard Armitage, your apparent vulnerabilities, Lucas’ apparent vulnerabilities, make me want to understand vulnerability. Not just how you and they are vulnerable — but what they, and you, do with that.

~ by Servetus on February 21, 2015.

5 Responses to “Struggling with vulnerability”

  1. Vulnerability is an issue I have been thinking about too, since in order to write fiction that connects with a reader’s heart, a writer must be open-hearted. And that means being vulnerable.

    But it’s not all about sadness with me, because I don’t find it all that easy to write about happy things, either. (Good grief, what’s left?)

    Over the past day or so, I’ve received some nice compliments and I have the hardest time coming up with anything more than a stiff “Thank you,” even though the compliments have absolutely made me glow with gratification. Other people seem to be able to embrace the moment. They just bubble over with delight. But I suspect I’m not letting myself be vulnerable enough to receive praise and express how happy it makes me.

    Anyway, this is a long way of saying that I think being honest and vulnerable can also mean being open to feeling intensely whatever comes along — to ride the roller-coaster, as it were. And that’s scary.

    But you’re right, RA is a good person to turn to for inspiration. I think the whole issue of vulnerability, of being willing to explore all the hidden corners of human existence, is probably something that motivates and interests him. So he seems to look for characters that experience all the highs and lows.


  2. Sorry, but the caption errs. This is Porter when he regains consciousness after being shot in “Zimbabwe” and it is the nun who is holding his hand. No “sexual encounter” there. 😉


  3. Oh, yeesh. Writing, and vulnerability. Sooooo much to say on that, it’s impossible to know where to start. I don’r jknow that there’s any writing without vulnerability.


  4. Thanks to everyone who managed to get the point although I mislabeled the photo. I apologize deeply for the horrible, terrible error. Maybe I’ll try to write about vulnerability again someday. For now comments are closed.


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