I have begun to follow Bushra Rehman’s Readings & Workshops Blog. In her entry titled “Two Truths and a Lie: Writing Autobiographical Fiction”, which went with a lot of what I wrote about in last week’s blog post, she proposed tactics or methods, and examined dilemmas, for lack of a better word, that made me think a bit more about not only what I am writing, but also what I want to come out of it and where I want it to go. In one of the first sections of the blog, she points out that “thinking is not writing” and “writing is not publishing”. From this, I went on to realize that I do in fact wish to not only have the product finished and wholly written out by the end of the year, but I want to spend my summer, and probably my next few years in college, searching for a publisher. Rehman says that it sometimes takes years to find the right publisher. In her case, it took her six to find Sibling Rivalry Press, the publisher she stuck with.
“Bushra is a little bundle of magic. Her poetry transports you from the dreary world into a colorful, surreal, emotional, and heartfelt place — she makes you wish you were home, and home is wherever she is. She can talk story you all the way from Corona to Pakistan with her insight, humor, and wisdom — and you’ll be grateful for the ride.”
— Ishle Yi Park, The Temperature of This Water Poet Laureate of Queens
She also mentions that the only way for a writer who wishes to publish her book some day is for the writer, the author, to lie to herself, to trick herself into thinking she won’t publish the book, so that she may be entirely honest in writing. That’s how writing works! Lying, not only to your audience, but to yourself, is how true, wholesome, honest books come about.
When thinking about writing an autobiography, which almost all, on their own, are fictional by nature, one must be willing to shed the barrier between herself and her audience. Allison, author of the truly spectacular novel Bastard out of Carolina, said, “I don’t believe you can be any good as a writer if you’re trying to hide yourself.” As Rehman points out in her blog, a writer mustn’t be a preacher who only acknowledges the sins of others, but must reveal his or her own sins as well when writing. In my fictional autobiography, I’ve been struggling to remember to reveal myself and my own problems or sins, or rather balancing mine with that of every other character in my book.
While writing this past week, I learned that sometimes you have to make yourself look bad. Often when looking back on past conflicts with others, I would block out my additions to the trouble and how it all started, and focus solely on the other person’s faults, shoving the blame elsewhere. My actions, however, are the parts that truly make the story shine, so I will focus a lot more on that aspect.
I haven’t had much time to write this week, and I’m pretty sure this upcoming week will be even worse, so I’m going to have to pick up the slack in the next few weeks. I can’t wait to update you on my progress in next week’s entry! Please check out the links below. The last is a link to my godmother (and mentor’s) book in pdf form Absence in the Palm of My Hands and Other Poems. It’s my favorite one of hers.
Citations for Images (respectively):
Rehman, Bushra. “Two Truths and a Lie: Writing Autobiographical Fiction Part
II.” Bushra Rehman. Bushra Rehman, 2 Sept. 2013. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.
Allison, Dorothy. “Bastards out of Carolina.” Amazon. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb.