Monday, February 17, 2020

Your Story is Your Story

Your story is yours. Memoir writers often struggle with the idea of ownership over a story. We will say something like, "But.. it happened to someone close to me; my response doesn't matter." Or, "The other people involved don't agree with my memory."

I'm here to remind you that everything that you've done, that has happened to you or you experienced in some way or another is a part of you. It makes you. You are composed of your actions, your responses, the actions of those around you, things you've read and the events that happen in your home, neighborhood, country... the list goes on and on. For example, if you were affected by a friend's loss, then your response is indeed a part of you.

Give yourself permission to write your story. If you learned something or changed from an outside event, then you might have something interesting to explore in writing.

Of course, you don't necessarily have permission to use other people's names or identifying details or specific event details. Your response, however, is always yours. (This is where you might need a disclaimer before your creative non-fiction piece to describe where you've taken some creative liberties.)

For more on this, you might read Family Trouble: Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family, edited and with an introduction by Joy Castro.

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