Monday, November 19, 2012

Adoptee Stories

I live adoption, and these days often don't want to take the time to read about it as well, except in the blogosphere.

I did my share of reading adoption-related books in the mid-90's, as I have mentioned before. It was illuminating to see how people connected--or didn't--when I had no hope of connecting on my own. Other people's stories in those pre-Internet days gave me hope and permission to continue my journey, slowly. Betty Jean Lifton was especially influential and I enjoyed her books, and then her personal support in my darkest times. Her death was a tremendous loss to the world.

More than once I have thought about writing some version (fictional? creative?) of my story, strange as it is. I enjoy writing; I am a good writer. It's probably one of my best talents. Many people have said they're surprised I have not ended up employed as a writer (hell, it's not like I didn't try, and I am published in peer-reviewed journals). But somehow when it comes to doing more than journaling about my messy life, I can venture no further. I am tripped up by that important writer's adage, "show, don't tell." I am not, perhaps, the most elegant of storytellers; I enjoy the tell too much. Maybe I would be better if I tried; I am not averse to editing and criticism. Of course, if I don't take myself seriously in this arena, no one else will.

On the positive side, I have had repeated glimmers of beginnings, especially driving over the Bay Bridge at night, the hum of the engine sending me back into my memory to particularly interesting or funny or difficult moments in the tale. I have some fabulous possible first lines to go with the chapter titles Thomenon suggested to me two years ago. I hesitate, however, to tell a story that isn't only mine. There are so many other people involved, and I don't necessarily want to paint them in a light that isn't flattering. I know I would hate to have my privacy exposed, just so. I am extremely protective of people I love, and while some of the weirdnesses I've lived might be wildly entertaining/enthralling/shocking to a wider audience, I don't want to put others on the line any more than I've done already. My ongoing readers, moreover, know exactly what I think of expurgated versions of things. On the other hand, I could write this story only for myself, and see what happens. Maybe start small?

What did Anne Lamott's father say? "Bird by bird?"


Rebecca Hawkes said...

"I enjoy the tell too much" - Ha, I love this! Yes, that's my problem, too. :-)

Julie Stromberg said...

Thank you for writing this post so I could say "ditto." LOL!

Writing my story involves sharing the stories of others as seen through my lens. And I'm not at a point of being comfortable with doing so. And yet it would have to be done that way in order to put my story into context.

Although, I have my opening line written too. ;-)