Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Too Much Information

I mentioned yesterday about the hesitancy I was feeling regarding my assignment from Hollis Gillespie's Shocking Real Life Writing Seminar. A few days before the seminar I was wondering if this is really the class for me because it is in fact a memoir class. And see, I don't really want people to know all my shit. Which some of you may find ironic considering the fact that I have a blog where I share every detail of my life. But that's just the thing. I don't share every detail of my life, something I pondered about here not that long ago. Ultimately I realized that I don't want to share some of the most private aspects of my life on this blog. Heck, I share those details with very few people in real life. I'm just a private person.

But I went because I like Hollis' writing and her class has proven to be very successful in getting people published. She works with everybody in the class to come up with an awesome idea, a kickass, attention-grabbing title and then she matches you with agents who are specifically looking for your type of material.

Before the class we had to provide her with a little background on ourselves and a couple of book ideas that we had. One of mine was about the suicide of my friend, Fred. I put that down because it is one of the most impactful things that has happened in my life, but I wasn't sure it was the story I really want to write.

But everybody in the class seemed to think that it is the story I need to write. I, however, have a lot of reservations about it. For one thing, if I tell the story completely honestly, there is a chance that some people will be hurt by it -- Fred's family, in particular his wife and young sons. And I'm just not sure that my need to tell this story is worth that.

We talked a lot in class about letting go of fear and how we have to tell our story as WE saw it and not worry necessarily about what the other players in our story think. And I think that's okay for most stories that are told. But there's something about the death of someone by suicide that requires me to concern myself with how my story will affect the other people involved, especially since a couple of those people are children.

So, I'm probably not going to write that story. Everybody kept saying "write it like no one's going to see it" but frankly I'm not sure I see the value in that. I've written it in my head a thousand times.

I am, however, working on a couple of other ideas. I've got some stories percolating in there. We'll just see what bubbles up to the top.

11 comments:

AndreAnna said...

I'm the same way. I have so many things I want to write about but are too private and feel like it would be a betrayal to "the other players" to put pen to paper.

Maybe we need an anonymous writing blog? lol

1blueshi1 said...

We should have gone with my idea of having you sit in my lap after the whole "not lesbians, just...bloggers" debacle. I bet the class would have come up with some great stories for you to tell, then! hehehe

calicobebop said...

I'm glad you stuck with your gut instinct. I can't wait to hear about your future ideas!

Colleen said...

I agree with you about holding back on a memoir of someone who committed suicide; particularly since is obviously happened relatively recently (such that it sounds like his kids aren't old and parents themselves). I would think if you ever decided to write it, that you might run it by the family first, to ensure they are okay with it...that they've had enough time to grieve and heal to where it's alright to look at someone else's view of it. Or for them to see how their husband/father touched another person. I dunno...I can see where it would be a compelling book, but it's more important to not cause more heartache to a family already dealing with so much pain.

And like anyone else, I can't wait to see what else you might have!

Jonny's Mommy said...

Some things are not worth the hurt they may cause.

I totally agree with you not writing about it.

ALF said...

I like the "write it like no one's going to see it" advice.

1blueshi1 said...

hehehe, I just reread your post and realized the title more fully, that is my nickname, at work! TMI!!! hehehe, I'm sure you don't know WHERE that came from....

Karen said...

I know that feeling well. In college we were to write an essay weekly. The ones I felt most passionately about I discarded because they were too personal. The teacher told me she thought I was holding back.

Burgh Baby said...

Hmm . . . I think the benefit to writing about the sometimes not realized consequences of suicide could be very substantial. Perhaps it's a story you should write with the intent of it never seeing the light of day, at least not until everyone is far from being able to be hurt by it.

Lulu said...

I second Johnny's Mommy. Without the express consent of Fred's family, I would not feel right doing it. I think you're on the right track...

Susie said...

I'm not sure I agree with you that there may not be any value for writing it only for yourself. If getting it out is important, that is. I sometimes think writing is like what sculptors say about their sculpture - that the sculpture reveals itself to the artist and the artist's job is to release it. Your story may be revealing itself to you and only you can release it.