Isn’t it time to write your story?
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
—Maya Angelou (in Last Lecture)
In the beginning was story. The caveman rushed back to his tribe and excitedly acted out his encounter with some Paleolithic beast. This was his story and forever after he would be remembered by this story. Every story has a sacred dimension not because of gods but because a man or woman’s sense of self and her world is created through them. These stories orient the life of a people through time, establishing the reality of their world. Thus, meaning and purpose are given to people’s lives. Without story, we do not exist. The Way of Story is how we discover who we are.
– Catherine Ann Jones, Prologue, The Way of Story
Each person is an individual and each person’s story is unique. After teaching writing for more than 45 years now – both in graduate school and workshops both here and abroad, I can honestly say that I am never bored. For each story belongs to itself. That is, if the author is true to himself and whether writing fiction or non-fiction, a play or movie or a memoir, if he or she has the courage to write from within, it will be unique. I always say that fiction is emotional autobiography. For when asked, “What story should I write?” I usually reply, “Write the story you feel most passionate about – either positive or negative.”
Writing is the greatest therapy I know. Recently I completed two memoirs and an unexpected thing happened. After sending the memoirs off to be published, I felt a lightness, as if the heavy past I had been encumbered with for years was gone. This left in its wake, a large, empty space – room for a new life. And an energy arose within that led the way forward.
This is one reason I offer Writing Your Memoir and The Way of Story (for all forms of narrative writing) workshops both on ZOOM, online courses, and ‘live’ workshops.
This week, I received good news: The Santa Barbara Writers Conference is back! June 18-23, 2023 where I will return as faculty and be leading a Way of Story class for five mornings during the conference.
This is one of the best writing conferences, too, where apart from classes, there are agents and editors from New York and Los Angeles and the fun of meeting other writers as yourself.