I Walk the Line

Memoirists walk a fine line. We care about the people in our lives (Really, we do.), but what we do is write, and writers write, dearies, what they know. So how do we balance the emotions about those we hold dear with the reality of what we write? Even trickier, how do we balance the emotions for those we could care less about?

Life isn’t pretty, and neither are the characters in it. Fiction writers get off light, I sometimes think, because they don’t have to write what’s real. In my particular brand of creative nonfiction, where many of the players (especially me) are broken or wounded, the decision about what to write is never easy. I’ve chosen to just plow away and get real, and that makes a few people uncomfortable, especially since I’m now publishing. I’m not going to apologize.

Do I write about my illness?–Kinda the point.
Do I write about the weaknesses of others?–Sure. We all have flaws. Get comfortable with that.
Do I write about small gestures of kindness, of love, of hilarity?–Whenever I can.
Is almost everything fair game?–You bet. I’ve earned this life and everything it involves.

There are only a handful of people in my life for whom I care unconditionally. They know that I do, and support my endeavors wholeheartedly. For others, I say this–If you don’t like what I write about you, perhaps you should have behaved differently when I knew you. I owe you nothing, and if I choose to write about you, I will write what I believe to be true. These stories are MINE. And if you don’t like it, take a flying leap off the jetty at low tide.


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