The Stories that Aren't Ours to Tell

When I was younger, I wrote about everything. Every ex-boyfriend had an essay with some ambiguous title that didn't need to be ambiguous because there, in the second or third paragraph was his full name, copied and stapled and stacked before being handed around to each person in my Creative Writing workshop at Longwood, where they would circle and slash and write character notes in the margins.

What our relationship had meant to me was the only thing I could ever wrap my head around and I never even thought to wonder how these people in my stories might feel about the fact that I was sharing our story with a group of people they didn't know.

Over time, I learned to stop over-sharing so much in my writing, which I'm sure sounds ridiculous because I write a blog about my life for a living. The other day I put together a reader survey because sometimes I worry that I sit around all day boring or irritating you. One person mentioned that I seemed very distant lately; that I am starting to come off as impersonal and artificial. And I think that person was right.

Because the story of the death of someone else's loved one or that time your friend came out of the closet or someone else's divorce isn't usually just hanging there for us, ripe for the picking. I have told some of these stories before and I look back on them with a bit of regret.

But when you write everything, how do you process life without sharing it? I'm still trying to figure it out.

I apologize for the vagueness and the impersonality that has lingered around here lately. I want you to know that I'm here, that I have been going through something, and that I feel it, but most of it isn't my story to tell. Maybe one day I'll find a way to tell you about it, but until then--whether you know it or not--I take a lot of comfort in the belief that we're all in this life thing together.