My fictional memoir, Touches of Time, fits in the genre of women’s fiction. It wasn’t easy dredging up the memories; what I thought I “knew” concerning the tons of speculation surrounding the unsolved homicide of my father.
Facing the emotion I had buried and resurrected time and again over the years was a challenge at first. I felt stuck, as though I was going around in circles more than once. The fictional characters didn’t seem “real” until I took a couple days to collage the characters and story into a scrapbook. I needed that tactile exercise.
I finally got caught up in creating a story where the characters took over, and the Lord enabled me to see events unfold through the eyes of fiction rather than my emotional memories. Along the journey, God spoke to me through His love letter (the Bible), and I treasured more than ever the path He chose for me.
Writing about the cold case caused me to think about how much truth I could reveal. But who’s truth? The story is my perspective, so it’s my truth. And if any of us has been around for a while, we’ve realized that whatever we write, or see, is viewed from an individual perspective. It’s similar to the concept that men and women see things differently. Two witnesses to the same accident, or a crime, have separate take-aways from the incident.
For those of us who write nonfiction, we have faulty memories when it comes to the real words spoken through conversation. Our real everyday conversations don’t read very well on the page. Fictitious words, therefore, can be sprinkled into our nonfiction for the purpose of story, through dialogue. So, even when we’re telling what we believe is the truth, we embellish with what’s made up.
My family is extensive. In telling the tale I had to deal with wondering what I dare expose, or whose toes I stepped on. Even though it’s presented as fiction, readers who know my family may wonder who is who in real life.
I have peace in the knowledge I have not exposed anyone with intent to harm. I have peace knowing I was compelled to tell this story that changed so many lives. I have peace this challenge was on the path of completing who I am. I have peace in the belief the Lord will choose everyone who reads my story. And I have peace in believing the only real, authentic truth of anything we question in life, is known only to God.
I’ll end with a quote from Anne Lamott in bird by bird: “To have written your version is an honorable thing to have done.”
My question for readers is this. Do you have a nagging memory that will not leave you alone? It may be meant for exploration on the page.