Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The stories

I keep meeting people--men mostly--and they tell me stories. (Full disclosure: I tell way more stories than any of the people I meet.)

My question is: when I hear a marvelous story, what do I do? Am I allowed to write it, to appropriate it? This morning, I met a fellow for coffee, and he told me a great story. As I listened, I thought, "I could write this, it's almost fiction." Now, I've had people tell me stories and then say, "you should write this!" My response is always, "Write it yourself, it's your story. You write your story, I'll write mine." But, in this case, I wanted to write his story.

If you know me in real life, you've heard me tell the story of my complicated family. Heck, if you've read this blog for a while, you know most of the story. It's the story of my life and I love it. It's unusual with lots of interesting characters, tension, and resolution (but not too much). Yet, it's not only my story--I share it intimately with four people and somewhat more tangentially with a dozen more. So, to write it as a work of non-fiction, or thinly veiled fiction, feels wrong. Sure, I can tell my part, but for the rest? I don't know.

I haven't left myself time to write more. I'm off to visit friends in the Netherlands. I'll be back on Sunday. Again, I'm not bringing my computer…so don't expect to hear from me.

Grateful for: tall tales.

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