Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Your Stories

A few weeks back, I was walking through a parking lot when I saw a bumper sticker that said, "Scars are just tattoos with better stories." I don't wish to put too fine a point on what I'm about to say, so here it is: I call bullshit.

Maybe that's easy for me to say, as I have few scars of my own (though you may remember this one) but am the proud owner of two tattoos. The truth is, though, that my tattoos ARE my scars. They tell tales unspeakable, and I hold those cards close to my chest because they are no one's business but my own. I have been known to divulge from time to time; however, this is not the venue, nor is it the time.

I have a point here: do not let anyone take the power away from your stories. Maybe they think you're telling them in an invalid mode. Maybe they think you're telling them wrong. As anyone who's ever sat through a creative writing workshop knows, these could be valid comments--it's possible you should write an essay about your childhood trauma rather than a full-length memoir, a poem about your wedding day disaster instead of a stage play. Pay attention to those comments, because they might prove useful in unlocking your work. Yet you should hold onto the core of what you're trying to say, because you're the only person who can say it.


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