Sunday, February 15, 2015

"The story you made of me"

Excerpts and link from an interview with Lidia Yuknavitch.

These touch back to two crucial themes for me in this blog: how not to perpetuate victim status and how to work beyond confession in memoir. Please read these two passages and then link to rest if you are piqued...

With regard to Lena's book [Lena Dunham controversy], I understand some people were "triggered."  I'm a survivor myself. I was not triggered, but I can understand and respect that reaction. It's just that I'm not sure how one gets from that reaction and strong emotion to trashing the book and the author personally—I think that's a particularly contemporary activity that people seem too easily willing to engage in. 

And this:

I think the process of non-fiction writing is a deep, life-altering one, when it's done with serious intention. When it's done too quickly or without deep practice, you are just confessing or summarizing life events. Showcasing a "me."  When it's done as a careful artistic practice, you are hunting for meaning beyond events and relationships as they happened to you. Something bigger and deeper than just your you-ness.

For more...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Our Need For Story

Lately I have been thinking a lot about - and writing a lot about - the stories we tell and how they help or hinder us. 

The photo above is a page from Abigail Thomas' book, Thinking About Memoir. This little section is called "The need for story". 

Then, the link and excerpt below are from a slightly different angle - a novelist talking about his experience with therapy. I love the article title: "Psychotherapy as a kind of art". A good reminder that we are always, always constructing story, fictional or not. That's human-ness at its core.

But I stayed on, three times a week, for the next six years. And when, two years after that, my family fell apart and I became single parent to my three children, I returned and stayed on, twice a week, for eight years. Session after session, I talked with increasing freedom and trust about anything and everything — dreams, memories, doubts, fears — and about matters that had been hiding in closed rooms of my mind. I approached therapy sessions with the same energy, intensity and sheer playfulness I brought to my writing: I brought in journal entries, letters, books, photographs, my typewriter, my baseball glove and drafts of works in progress. So large was my desire for my doctor to know me that I once appeared at her door with that day’s show-and-tell piled high in one of my children’s toy wheelbarrows.

It may sound funny, but it never fails to amaze me how what we do and need in writing are the same as what we do and need in life, whether or not we are writing about our lives. But especially if we are.