More Random Thoughts

21Feb10

The old saying that all dramas are family dramas is an oversimplification, of course, but it’s true that the models for all of our relationships are our original relationships: the responses we expect from others are the responses we saw over and over again as we made our first social efforts in the (relative) safety of our families. And the responses we expect from others condition the way we reach out to them.

How does that play out?

First, as authors it means we bare our souls when we write. Bruce Coville talked about this in a lecture he gave some years ago at Vermont College. He said he hadn’t believed that anyone could tell anything about him from the stories he wrote . . . until people did, and were uncomfortably accurate. We can write only the stories that fascinate us and only stories we feel contain an element of truth, and that truth is about us. To the extent that readers fall in love with our stories it is because we share in a common humanity, in a common story.

No one story we write may be anywhere close to autobiographical, but over time the body of a writer’s work gives an autobiography of his heart.

Image from brucecoville.com

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One Response to “More Random Thoughts”

  1. 1 Karen

    Interesting. I was recently in a guest workshop (speaker was Adam Novy, whose book “The Avian Gospel” is coming out in April) who said as much. It actually makes writing a little scarier, because to write a believable character, I have to put in more of me than I’m comfortable revealing. It can also make reading uncomfortable at times (anything by Ann Sexton).

    The story I sent you, if I try to pursue it, turn it into a novel… that’s one that is going to take a lot out of me. I think it could be worth it.


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