I would like to poll all the lyricists I admire, the fearless, clear-eyed chroniclers of wrong turns and troubled minds, and ask them how they do it. I’m not talking about the actual writing of the words, although I would like to know how they do that, too. Right now I want to know how the hell you write honestly about your life, and the people in your life, without making everyone hate you. I gather there is some art involved. A way of transposing reality into rhyme so that meaning remains visceral but nobody gets hurt. It’s not easy, not if you hope to avoid platitudes and cliches. Details must be altered, even if they’re rich. The truth is muted or twisted. Facts are bent and reshaped into verse. It’s finesse on the front end and good sport on the back. Only yesterday a friend who is the books editor at a major newspaper tweeted about getting the galleys for the new Carly Simon biography without an index. He couldn’t immediately look up “You’re So Vain.” I want to tell the truth and I want to protect people’s feelings. I want to expose myself and I want to guard my privacy. I’ll have to become a storyteller.