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Writing honestly

Monday, February 23, 2009 by Marianne Elliott

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"To write honestly about our lives requires that we work at and refine our artistic skills so that our memoirs can effectively communicate the hard-won, deep layers of truth that are rarely part of conventional discourse. It requires, too, that we grapple with all the ethical questions that arise when we shun commonly accepted definition of loyalty: questions like "can I really tell that story or will it hurt my mother?" By demanding our "loyalty" in the form of silence, some of the people we are closest to have coerced us into collaborating with lies or with myths. We cannot, however, respond to this coercion by rushing into print. We must examine our responsibility as writers to those we write about, even while holding fast to our truths."

               Judith Barrington, "Writing the Memoir"


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11 Responses to "Writing honestly"

  1. susanna says:

    How to tell a true story while remaining true to yourself and thoughtful of the others who play a role in it…it’s an interesting dilemma. I’m glad that you have mentors to guide you through this process.

  2. John Mullis says:

    I guess that’s the point where personal growth and development begins: stripping back the social myths and cultural norms that (unknowingly) cling like an interface between us and the our story, the thing that defines us as individuals.
    But we can only tell our own stories and the pain is worth the prize at the end. Hang on in there.

  3. Susannah says:

    oh wow, yes, i am hearing this today. This book is sitting on my coffee table along with others you recommended 😉 x

  4. gypsy alex says:

    oh this quote is a keeper! reporting the truth in its rawest and most faithful way has been definitely in my mind lately. xo

  5. Swirly says:

    EXACTLY what I need today. Thank you my friend.

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