“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories.just change their height and hair color. No one ever once has recognized him or herself in my fiction. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” – Anne Lamont
I’ve been trying/trying not to say this for a while now. There is nothing wrong with writing about things that have happened to you. Don’t let anyone silence you from telling your story. Someone else may not look angelic in your story, but that’s probably because they weren’t. You are allowed to process your timeline. Writers process by writing. It’s how the world makes sense.
Often when I’m writing, I couldn’t care less what Joe Shmoe (or Joe Douchebag) did. I wan to better understand the situation, I want to better understand my role in it, and I want to more fully understand my options for moving forward. Writing does that for me. I can see the whole of a situation when I sit down to write about it.
For each and every interaction you have with someone, you run the risk that the person will talk about it, and you, to anyone they know. After an altercation, some will call up your mutual friends to have an emergency pow-wow so they can be sure their side of the story is heard first and loudest. Rest assured, if you’ve ever been called TO one of those emergency pow-wows, there is nothing stopping that person from having one about you. You also have a choice: you can choose to accept whatever you’re told like a nice little lemur, or you can assume that the urgency is prompted by the need for a cover-up.
When I write, I’m doing it to better understand my experience, not to undermine someone or hide my own actions. And I put it out there, publically. You can see what I’m thinking when I process something that’s passed between us. Comments are open and you’re welcome to leave yours. I’m not hiding, not excluding, not running through the shadows with my baggage full of secrets. This is honest, and real.
All that said, I do not believe that bashing someone is morally OK. So I don’t do that. I’ve had to step out of many circles of people because the bashing became the only common thread and an all too frequent conversation starter. It’s a sign of shallow, insecure people if the group can only talk about other people. But there is a difference between bashing people and talking about a situation. It should be clear by the writing. I have at least one person, often more, preview a post before I post something that could be specific to a situation. If a post gets past the censors, and you still see yourself in it – you might be projecting.
Reading and writing are two facets of a relationship. If you aren’t ready to own your role in relationships, don’t befriend writers.