Sunday, April 17, 2011

Writing the Hard Stuff

Friday night I was out with a couple of writing friends for dinner and the live taping of Live Wire - which included an appearance by Anne Lamott, as well as another writer whose name I need to look up, some awesome musicians - including Holcomb Waller, director Todd Haynes, and more.

Over dinner we had a discussion about writing things that are hard. This didn't necessarily mean hard for us (though that was a part of the discussion, too) - but writing about things that may be hard for others to read or that someone may not like. We're talking about memoir. So the "hard to hear/read" and the "may not like" concern actual people and have potential ramifications.

Then at The Writing Life Too, musings and gatherings Jessica Page Morrell, there appeared this wonderful interview with author Lidia Yukanvitch about her memoir. I definitely want to read the memoir. And I like what Lidia had to say.

Here is one section that stands out for me. Click on the link below it to read the full interview.
But it’s just a veil we throw up when we say we can’t write stories because of how this or that person will react. It’s a safety veil. The reason to lift the veil and move through to your story has almost nothing to do with how the people in your life will react. You can’t control that. Ever. The reason to lift the veil is to step with your full self into your own story.

If other people find difficulty with your story, hey, they can write their own stories.
But I did list some good strategies: contact people you are worried about, change names if you must, use a composite if you can skillfully render events without distorting their truth, and this: trust art.
Full interview: Lidia Yuknavitch's The Chronology of Water