I'm reading The Liar's Club by Mary Karr for my book group this month and I came across a quote that I LOVE and that I totally agree with.
"Personal experience has the possibility to transform both the tellers of it and the listeners to it." (p. xiv)
A few years ago, I took a class at ASU that focused completely on this concept of the power of personal narratives. It was one of my secondary education (for teaching English lit) classes, but as I wrote examples of the assignments for my students, I relearned what I'd already discovered through avid journal writing: personal narrative really can heal a person. It can change them.
I think this is one of the things I love about blogs. I visit the craft blogs, and the cooking blogs, and the writing blogs, and I find their posts interesting and informative, but the blogs that I find myself going to over and over again are those that share personal stories. Those that connect themselves to whatever they're sharing.
I love the writing blogs where writing isn't just a scholarly pursuit to be dissected as if it were a science project. Yes, we need to know the mechanics of good writing. Yes, we need to know techniques for engaging a reader. But there are a lot of sources out there telling about these things. I have numerous writing books, I get the writing magazines, I subscribe online to various websites that teach these things. I love the blogs that may jump into these topics, but then the authors tell me about themselves and how this topic relates to them. They talk about their successes, their failures, the things they've learned, they show me how powerful metaphor can be by writing a post just oozing with amazing metaphor, they teach me about subtlety by being subtle. While I'm being taught, I don't feel like I'm being talked to or lectured, but that the author has invited me to sit with them, to share a carton of ice cream, and discuss what we've learned and how our writing has affected our lives, our families, and our selves.
So, if you get a lot of me and my personal story here at this blog, that is why. I strongly believe in the power of personal narrative, of writing it down, of letting it heal. And we all need healing. From heartaches and pains, to hurt feelings, broken bodies, broken families, sick children, wandering children, and so, so many more trials that I can't even fathom.
This is why I keep a journal.
This is why I blog.
This is why I write.
Because even if the circumstances of my life don't change, my heart does.