Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why I Write

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.


  1. Great post, Kaylee. I agree with you 100%! Writing is my favorite form of therapy. I can take time to write our my thoughts and feelings before I send them on to the person with whom I am trying to communicate. I love the personal touch. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. lol...and I should take time to edit my typing, as well write out my thoughts.

  3. I sooooo agree with what you have shared about having that personal touch that makes you want to visit the author and just have another chat. It gives me hope because I have felt that I would not have a novel in me if you looked to the depth of my soul, my writing is about feelings and experiences that move us to become a better person to those we love and finding ourselves being that person in our trials and challenges...and victories I should add..there you go, my two cents worth and love the way you posted it,,,,

  4. Thank you, everyone! Can you tell this is something I'm a little passionate about?

    I think that this is why whenever I get motivated to actually read a non-fiction book, I gravitate toward biographies and memoirs.

    Marsha--I say, write what you love. If feelings and experiences move you (which, by the way, they move me, too--I love stories about people who change through their trials) then write it!!

  5. I totally agree, Kaylee!!! Very good post. I believe that is why many of us write. We can heal from all of our hurts.

  6. Great post!
    And exactly! YAY for personal touches! (Um, that sounded a little weird--like I-touch-myself kinda thing, sorry--I'll rephrase.)
    YAY for adding a personal touch on your writing! (better?)

  7. Beautifully stated! I've created a whole Internet business around the concept of creating positive change in family lines. Obviously, that starts with the individual, and journals are a large part of my personal focus. It is so refreshing to hear someone else speak about the healing power of the personal narrative. I REALLY enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing your feelings here. (You'll find me online at FamilyTreeQuest [dot] com)

  8. I agree. I like to come to know a person, not just be bowled over by their writing prowess. It's been a pleasure getting to know you a little bit!


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