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family stories you don't agree with

Writing About Family Stories You Don’t Agree With

How do you write about family stories whose interpretation you don’t agree with?

We all have family stories that we have heard over and over again. When they are told in family gatherings, no one expects any contradiction. After all, the stories are the accepted “truth” about someone in the family. The problem is that you don’t agree with the meaning people ascribe to it.

How do you write about these family stories you don’t agree with? There’s no problem when you are in agreement with the storyline and the interpretation, but what do you do when you are not—especially what do you do when you are out of sync with other relatives in the way you interpret the story?

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telling the truth

Solving Problems of Telling the Truth in Your Memoir

When telling the truth, how much of what happened do you have to tell? At what point does withholding the truth become a lie? For instance, in all her famous diaries, as Anais Nin celebrated the freedoms of her life as an artist, she never once mentioned that she was bankrolled by a husband. True, she could not mention his name or details of his life because he had refused her legal permission to do so in print. But wouldn’t the truth have been better served if she had mentioned the working husband who paid her bills and made her artistic life free of financial constraints possible?

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Telling the Truth

Holding Back the Truth in Your Memoir

Your memoir needs to tell the truth about life—yours—and sometimes that requires exposing yourself getting “naked.” Getting to the truth in memoir is not about being cruel but about adding meaning and depth to your life story.