Changing the World, One Story at a Time

Jennifer and Audrey

I recently joined my oldest friend, Audrey Kalman, at Book Passage in Corte Madera, California to lead a writing workshop called “Birthing Your Truest Stories.”

The theme seemed right to us because it integrates Audrey’s work as a birth doula and writer with my work as a memoirist as well as teacher and scholar of memoir. The enthusiastic reception from our participants assured us that yes, this is a topic of great interest, although these can be trying times to think about sharing “our truest stories.”

On the one hand, we have the #MeToo phenomenon, with the floodgates suddenly opened to a torrent of stories of the most intimate and personal sort, let loose on the Internet for all to read.

On the other hand, precisely because of our call-out culture of shaming and blaming, we may be reticent to share our most sensitive ideas and stories, for fear of offending someone or stirring up unwanted controversy.

“Birthing Your Truest Stories” participants, October 2017.

Many women, in particular, have been culturally conditioned to avoid confrontation, with the result that we tend to bite our tongues rather than risk sharing a story that might offend.

The question I have been asking for a while now is, what happens when generation after generation of women silence ourselves in this way, allowing our truest stories to be stifled, stillborn?

This silencing of the feminine perspective has not only personal but also political and even planetary implications, as I have often written about on my eco-social blog, Transition Times.

I believe it is urgent that human societies begin to honor and pay attention to feminine wisdom now, which is why I have spent so much time over the past 20 years creating spaces, communities and platforms for the cultivation of the voices of women and girls.

 

Audrey Kalman talking about how to activate your own inner “writing doula” at Book Passage, Corte Madera, October 2017.

We also need to cultivate and support the nurturing, gentle side of men, allowing men to tell their true stories in a way that is welcoming of alternatives to the conventional “tough-guy” narratives.

 

Sharing our truest stories…important work!

Audrey and I will be offering ourselves as what we call “writing doulas,” gently coaching and supporting those who are laboring to bring their own truest stories into the world. We’ll be working together on a “Birthing Your Truest Stories” writer’s guide, as well as looking for more opportunities to present our workshop, both in person and online.

I’ll also be offering my memoir writing workshops regularly in person here in western Massachusetts where I live (see the upcoming schedule here).

You can access my online workshop, “The Elemental Journey of Purposeful Memoir,” wherever you are and whenever is convenient for you. And I regularly offer coaching and manuscript review, if you have a difficult story that is seeking to come through you and you need some extra support.

As I regularly tell memoirists, your story is not just about you. You are the channel for a story that needs to be told in this very turbulent moment in human history.

You don’t have to labor alone…but you do have to continue the labor, so your unique truth can be born and shared with others.

And if the story you’re telling honors the feminine…know that this is especially important to share in our time, so that the sad, angry #MeToo can become the loving, radiant #UsTogether, working for positive change in our lives, in our communities, and in our world.

Let it be so.

Memoirists share their truest stories. Photo credit: Christina Rahr Lane.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *