Tell The Story

rosey

…and the truth will set you free.

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people want you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
~Anne Lamott

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9 thoughts on “Tell The Story

    • Believe it or not, I’ve never read Bird by Bird, though I’ve heard so many good things about it. I also don’t know much about Anne Lamont. I saw this quote on another blog and it resonated with me. It reminded me of the creative nonfiction course I took at Wesleyan University and how judgmental some of my classmates were toward people they felt disclosed too much. It also reminded me of the course I taught, in which some of my students wrote about things they’d never shared before. It was both difficult and freeing, guilt-inducing and healing. I’ll have to read that book. Thanks, George.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The story that inspired the title of the book is on the back of the book. It’s a nice simple way to approach our problems. She’s just a very honest writer and her advice is fun to listen to. You’d probably enjoy it..:)

        Liked by 2 people

    • Svet, I really appreciate your comment. There are so many thoughts about this topic out in the world, and so many arguments for and against. Some of the thinking is that there is no right or wrong, just perception. Others feel that by shaming the person who wrote what they perceive as the truth is punishing the victim all over again. I don’t know the answer. I do believe we can get so wrapped up in the pain of our stories that we sometimes can’t move past them, and so we essentially become our stories. What I learned from my creative nonfiction writing instructor is that it’s the intent behind the writing that matters. If you write, for example, about an abusive parent for the sake of revenge or from an unhealthy, angry place, you might want to put aside the piece for a few weeks – or years even – and then revisit it before you put it out into the world. It’s definitely always risky, though, when you write about others because you risk their wrath and alienating not just them, but potentially other family members or friends. It’s not a decision that should be taken lightly for sure.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you Kim for showing me other perspective! In my response I was referring more about sharing intimate details from friendship. Obviously it didn’t cross my mind other cases such as abuse. In that case writing can be a way of healing and the story should be exposed to prevent similar events in the future.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. First, I agree with George that you need to get your hands on a copy of “Bird by Bird.” It’s not just a good book about life, it is also rather freeing from a writer’s point of view.
    But as for your post, I mostly agree. I think we do need to own what has happened to us, and that repressing it just to protect others isn’t healthy at all. I think the trick when we write about it is to sure to say that we are writing what we remember, or what we think, happened, because it is true that our memories aren’t always true.
    That being said, I struggle to write honestly about my family (the one I was born into, not the one I created with my husband) because I know they read my blog, and I don’t want to hurt them. Although the few times I’ve written about my mother, she seems to get a kick out of it. There are definitely things I could write that she wouldn’t appreciate, but I think I will save those for when she is no longer reading my blog. Life can be hard all by itself, and I don’t want to make it worse for anyone. It’s complicated, isn’t it?

    And any post that generates this much thought and discussion is obviously a good one. Thanks for sharing it, Kim!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Ann. I agree it’s complicated. That’s why I prefer writing fiction to nonfiction! When I started a blog I knew I couldn’t go the way of “5 ways to be happy” or any of the other things that allow people to make money at it. I knew it would be more literary in style and that would mean nonfiction, writing about my life. Which can be a slippery slope sometimes in terms of disclosure. I agree our memories can be mistaken.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, for the record, you do a fantastic job of it! And I think that most of us know where to draw the line between telling the truth and hurting others, which is why I still agree with the statement you posted!

        Liked by 1 person

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