“Beware the small gratuitous hurt.”
By Laurie Hertzel
Like any good student, I sat in the front row, took diligent notes, and believed, for a while, everything my teachers said. As a young newspaper reporter, I had ambitions beyond daily journalism, so for years I attended as many workshops and seminars as possible, studying narrative writing, fiction, and, eventually, memoir.
“I own my story,” I obediently jotted during a memoir lecture—or words to that effect. “No one has the right to tell me what I can or can’t write.”
But when I began working on my first memoir, I realized that it’s not that simple. Yes, I own my story—that is, I have the right to tell the stories of my life. But I don’t live in a vacuum, and in order to tell my stories I cannot help but tell the stories of others. Do I have that right? Do I have the…
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