It’s true. It takes a certain amount of ego to put one’s life on paper, to peddle it to publishers, and to ask people to read your story. The other true thing is that once all that is done it’s left to the author to live with insecurity and self-doubt.
It could have been done better, written better, crafted better.
The editor in me asks: what was left out that should be in? what is in that should be out?
The philosopher in me asks: what is true?
The theologist in me asks: where is Godde?
The woman in me asks: having spoken your truth, can you still love yourself?
I have to believe every memoirists asks at least some of these questions. And perhaps it is not only the writer who must ask these questions. As you read the story of another’s life it’s an invitation to ask those questions of your own life.
How do you tell your story to yourself? How willing are you to be a truth-teller, even when your truth is messy or even downright ugly? Does it matter?
And then there’s the question I’ve danced around: if people know who I am will they still like me? It is a universal question that is also an invitation to an authentic life. For me, the answer is: not always, sometimes, and passionately. Speaking and living your truth can result in people not always liking you. Or liking you sometimes. Or disliking you passionately. Or liking you passionately. And sometimes, loving you warts and all.
The risk and joy of telling one’s story is that it sifts out chaff and reveals what you may have always known but were afraid to acknowledge.
I would love to hear, read, know your story. It is worth the risk of telling whatever the venue. Hearing your story will grow me into a deeper, more compassionate human being. I hope my story does the same.
So here is my story. There are some unresolved issues with the crafting of it that I only saw after its publication. There are truths that make me look quite weak at times and trite at others. There are passions revealed. And flaws. And even some places where I look quite exceptionally good.
My final confession as a memoirist is that I want you to read my life. I want to share the connections of our human stories. And somewhere, deep down, I hope that telling my story makes a difference.