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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Q & A: When Protecting Someone Else’s Story Is a Deal-Breaker For Your Memoir

Question: I can’t publish my memoir without sharing the hard stories of those around me. Is that a deal breaker?

A: No. And Yes.

No, there are often creative ways to communicate what is true while honoring and protecting the hard stories of others.

Yes—in my opinion!—there are stories that are too tender, intimate and private to publish. In some cases, the intersection of another person’s story with yours is a deal breaker. That’s not a book that needs to be published.

Right now, the details of my family’s journey when my husband came out as gay don't need to be published. (I don’t expect that to change. If it does, I will update this post, detail the reasons and explain how he and our three children, who will then be adults, think it’s a great idea. And even then I will invite your pushback. Push, please. Mention something about my duty to my children.)

Is there a story in your life that—in your estimation—isn’t for others? (Be vague!) Have you read a blog post or article or book that you felt went too far in revealing what ought to have remained private?

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