Click here for more information about the Debbie Dougan Scholarship Donation

Follow by Email

Thursday, December 08, 2011

What Will The Neighbors Think?

“Remember that you own what happened to you. If your childhood was less than ideal, you may have been raised thinking that if you told the truth about what really went on in your family, a long bony white finger would emerge from a cloud and point to you, while a chilling voice thundered, "We *told* you not to tell." But that was then. Just put down on paper everything you can remember now about your parents and siblings and relatives and neighbors, and we will deal with libel later on.” —Anne Lamott

So, let’s say you dug around in your memory closet yesterday and found a few things definitely worth writing about, but after a minute or two you put them back. “Lightning might strike if you wrote about that.” “What would the neighbors/my parents/Great Aunt Taloula think?”

If you’re journaling, remind yourself that no one reads what you write without your express permission. If you are writing fiction, slice it thin and spread it around (and change the names, of course). If you are blogging . . . well, in that case you may want to consider another forum for sharing what’s in your closet. Depending on who your followers are and how likely they are to call your mom and let her know you’re airing the family’s dirty laundry.

The thing is, if you’ve gone through something that needs airing, chances are someone else has, too. As a writer, you might be able to shed light into someone else’s closet and help them clean out some of their junk (read that as ‘process’). Think about what books like ‘Speak’ and ‘Shine’ have done for current issues.

No comments: