Why Do Stories Resist Being Told?

June 26, 2014 § 1 Comment


swimWendy Rawlings weighs in on the story that cannot be written (yet).  After the excerpt below, a link to the entire essay on Bending Genre:

Why do some nonfictional stories resist being told? On a table near my writing desk sit twenty-four journals I kept during the years of my love affair with the Irishman. They’re filled with details that evoke the tenderness and difficulty and hilarity of two people from very different backgrounds who fell in love nonetheless. …

I’ve often tried to begin the memoir with one of these moments, but it falls flat. We are too ordinary; I cannot in words convey the charm of his accent and the unfettered pleasure he takes in his senses without turning him into a leprechaun.

Have I just not found the right form to tell this story, the right voice? Is the story of two people from different backgrounds falling in love just too played out? Do I simply lack the confidence of Mary Karr and Tobias Wolff? Or are some stories meant only to be lived, not told? ..

Is there an algorithm that will predict the moment when a writer can begin productively to translate life experience into nonfiction? Must a certain number of years go by? Or does this impasse mean I’m supposed to give up on my desire to write the nonfiction version and write a novel instead?

Read the FULL BLOG ESSAY here.

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§ One Response to Why Do Stories Resist Being Told?

  • I can really relate to this post. I have journals full of notes about my travels and am wondering if/how they could be developed into nonfiction or fiction! Enjoyed visiting your sandbox. Thanks, Margie

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