Speaking our truth is important. And it’s also hard.
Most writing schools focus on the craft of putting words on paper. But we all know that what is hard about writing is not just the technique of writing but also the emotion of putting our truth on the page, in language for others—and even for ourself—to see.
We can hide in silence. But language clarifies. It shows the holes in our thinking and the scars in our feelings. At least honest language does this.
But because we live in a world in which we prefer to be “polite,” “professional” and in which we often value surface over depth, we usually don’t admit the difficulties of understanding and telling our own stories.
Even in memoir workshops, especially in university settings, where professors need to give grades, people rarely talk about the emotional challenges, and also the emotional rewards, of telling their stories.
But Melanie Brooks, a brave writer at work on her own memoir, decided to ask writers those usually unspoken questions about how they deal with the emotional challenges of writing difficult stories.
These are important questions; if we can have honest conversations about the challenges of our stories, we’re more likely to be able to work through those challenges and create real transformation on the page, in our lives, and in the world.
In her book Writing Hard Stories, Melanie interviews 18 memoirists about how they told their hard stories and “shaped art from trauma.”
And this week, I’m sharing with you my interview with Melanie. She has lots of great things to say about writing—and living. I hope you’ll watch and share it with others.