Your past is the wellspring that supplies all interpretation of who you are and what you know. A writer who attempts to shake his past becomes a mere amalgamation of the thoughts of others. In the end that writer who tries to reject his past is merely a poseur who has betrayed his own true essence and is little more than a puppet master of word manipulation.
"Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days." -- Flannery O'Connor
We sometimes hear the protest, "But my life isn't interesting--I've never done anything and nothing has ever happened in my life that's special!" Therein lies your mission. You've witnessed plenty in your lifetime. You've got plenty of data stored in your memory banks. Now it's up to you to put it together into something interesting. Like the letters of the alphabet can be formed into an infinite number of words, what you know can be put together in countless ways and told over and over. No one has seen life from your unique perspective.
"The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and about all time."
George Bernard Shaw
Still the stubborn cry may be raised, "I can't keep writing about myself--my readers will get bored." But perhaps you're confusing the uniqueness of your personal story and the shared experience of the human story. We still read the great authors of the past because they tell a story that still applies to us in our age. The settings, the nuances of language, the customs may have changed but the emotions and needs are much the same now as they ever were. If we can successfully write our own story into the story of humanity then we have accomplished one of the main goals of being a writer.
"Everything one invents is true..." -- Gustave Flaubert
In one final attempt at argument you might say, "But I want to write fiction. I don't want to write a memoir or about anything that is true."
It's still about you. Even if what you write is the most extreme fantasy, science fiction, or any other form, you are still part of the story. The story you tell is an extension of who you are and what you know and what you believe. If it's not these things, then what is it? Fiction? There is no real fiction, only fictionalized accounts of that which is true. If this is not the case then the story is not to be believed and the author is a liar.
"In a very real sense, the writer writes in order to teach himself, to understand himself, to satisfy himself."
-- Alfred Kazin
Often on Tossing It Out I have written blog posts based on my life and my experiences. I don't worry too much whether the readers want to hear about what I think or what I've done in the past. My main concern is whether it has been written engagingly enough for readers to want to read it and to be entertained in the process. There are times when I might want to attempt to teach a lesson or even persuade a side of some opinion. Like any writer, my goal is to please my audience, but since I am the first member of my audience who reads what I have written, my primary goal is to please myself with my work. If you are not pleased with your writing then you need to write until you are pleased. Always be honest with yourself.
Lola has become my 1000th follower! Does anyone know who Lola is and does Lola have a blog? I'd like to link to her blog to recognize this milestone achievement for Tossing It Out. I wish everyone who decided to follow my blog would drop in the comments after they've clicked the follow button to let me know so I can reciprocate the follow. But on the other hand, I'm thankful for everyone who does follow. My thanks to each of you!
The A to Z Challenge Reflections Mega Post is coming next Monday May 2nd. Hope you will join us with your thoughts about the Challenge. Click on the link to read the details. The Linky list will be available this weekend. Make sure that you add the precise link for your Reflections Post.
Do you write about yourself? Have you used past life experiences in your writing? Do you agree or disagree with today's post?