In a writing workshop, teacher Kaylie Jones encouraged us to give ourselves permission to write. Busting myths, she said, is what the writer must do. The right to write might be more pertinent to the memoirist than it is to the fiction writer, as for us there is less distance between ourselves and the story.
If, like me, you are female and Catholic, then busting societal myths is not an easy task. In my country of Australia, the 1950s had a firm grip on what we convent lasses were allowed to say, do and write.
At the beginning of Kaylie’s class, she invited the group to meditate. We were to imagine ourselves descending a deep set of stairs leading to a private writing room. There we instructed our inner critic to step aside; to stand – even – in the corner. We didn’t need to hear from it just then. This meditational method seemed to work, as many of the participants went on to contribute to the anthology, Jewels of San Fedele. For more information click here.
The workshop helped me find a way to write about my veteran, very strict father in a manner that would hopefully lead to humour and even affection later on. Learning to tell tales of our father/daughter relationship became for me a kind of freedom.
Our stories are just that – ours – and for us to tell as we choose. Crafting them is a different matter and one that I grapple with every day. But for now, I’m enjoying the concept of having the right to write.