Which is truer – Fact or Fiction – in search of the authentic writing self – Saturday Writing Sagas 9

Culture Smile
Culture Smile – By June Perkins

I choose to speak in riddles.

The first time I wrote this post it had more overtly personal  family stories in it, yet I backed away and thought I can’t write that post yet because I am grappling with a deeper question.

Which is truer, fact or fiction?

I have responsibilities to those I am going to write of, or be inspired to write characters for.

Do you remember the first time you learnt that history might be biased in the telling, that history told from the ‘victors’ point of view will usually portray them without critique? Growing up none of us wanted to be native Americans in cow boys and Indians, because they always died. That was the story around when I was a child.

Do you remember the first time you learnt of the enforced silences of cultures, women, countries, the disadvantaged, the non-canon,caused by the lack of publication or shared words, shared spaces to bring their stories into the open?

Do you ever worry about the authentic self?  Who do I write as?  Me? A narrator nothing like me? A narrator a little like me? A narrator who is an amalgam of all I know and can imagine and research as well.  Are my stories real? Are they imagined?  Will I stay in my comfort zone?  Will I push beyond that and take you the reader with me? I am not traditional. I never can be?

I set about the story of fictionalising the real to approach a deeper emotional truth, to see the signifiers of my own life and of those in my life more universally and my story genre slips between real and not real, fiction, and non fiction.  It is apparent that research is going to be needed to understand this story.

Is it as a simple as fact, non-fact?  What do facts tell us?  What is the deeper story? What are the secret stories?  Are all tellers of tales true reliable?  Why do they hide things? Do they demand of us change of names, and exact locations to ‘protect the guilty’?

Are there some stories I will never tell? How much disguise will I have to put on to ‘protect the innocent?’

This is more than theory, this is the story of second generation migrants, looking for home in heritage, space and story.  This is the story of those whose new identity is made up of an environment where several languages are spoken at home, and sometimes there is no translator,  Who want more than the simple definition of ‘she had to go home to understand,’ What  is home?

Diaspora – it’s a long time since I thought about that word.

It’s the story of not knowing if you will ever decode the mysteries of those close to you who grew up in other languages, with other cultural codes, that you struggled to understand as you were encultured in their new homeland.

Dancing Culture – June Perkins

What are the dangers and perils of making a connection of becoming obligated? Will you think less of me if I never go into the birth land space, and why should that be so?

I am not confused, down-trodden, silent – I am seeking for the writing light, where I can present you the stories that have made me, and yet is that really me you might wonder?

They dance culture just for one night
my daughter accepted in
where I never felt welcome
why did I never feel that
and she smiles
as they dress her in the costumes
of culture they have reinvented
when they don’t have the right materials nearby

Is this copy real
unreal, imagined?

All I know is I am happy for her
that she has a taste I was not given in this way
and is the making a journey to her bubu’s homeland
and  yet I ask

Why did my mother never take us to her home?

Is she taking my daughter there now in the only
way she can
now her parents have passed on?

What is your idea of home or your authentic writing self?

Making More Time for Writing and Soul: Saturday Writing Sagas 7


Do you ever feel you need more time to write or create, like you spend too much time doing administration in your writing/creative day?

I think often, as creatives, we wish we had assistance, agents, publicists so we simply had more time to be creative. But these things all cost and until we make enough as artists/writers when are we going to afford such help.

Perhaps by having an well paying part-time day job that still gives enough time to write/do art? Hmm any of my readers in that position?

I am facing this issue head on, and about to embark on making more time for creating my art and writing by seeing if I can find some suitable grants out there that will help me employ some people to assist in the other work of being an artist/writer – the admin.  I think I remember seeing some.

If you know of any grants please let me know, I’d appreciate your help. I’ll let you know how I get on in the saga that is called building a full time writing career.

On an up-lifting note, I have sent my first individual self published book of poetry and stories to my designer, Paulien Bats, with a proposed page sizing! Yes, she is working on it and soon it will be even closer to being a reality.  I’ve had some stories and photography accepted to an upcoming Anthology for a writing group in Queensland (more on that later).

If you are a writer you will know that buzz of having work selected by an editor for publication.  It is an absolute joy.

Until next Saturday happy writing and creating and may you find the butterfly soul of song!

From Vomit Draft to the Pull of Memorable Characters: Saturday Writing Sagas 1

work hair
EvilErin, Flickr Creative Commons – Work Hair

The second draft of my nanowrimo novel (2009) is calling out to me and saying, ‘why aren’t you writing me.’ I have many pat answers and excuses, but most of all it’s fear I don’t get rid of the right characters. There were so many sub plots and characters in the ‘vomit draft’ that I knew I had a series on my mind.

The long slog of planning an entire series was avoided, until in a workshop I planned it out on butcher’s paper. For a month I was excited to begin and then said to myself firmly ‘no, I’m just too busy.’ I think I had a photo exhibition at the time. This was followed by asking my draft readers (yes I crazily had draft readers on the nanowrimo novel) which characters they were attached to. More procrastination!

Lately I read book after book in the nanowrimo project genre and write almost anything else, whether it’s a blog, short story, children’s story, song, poem, article, memoir, and still that nanowrimo novel haunts me like a knock from some zombie on roller skates at my dreaming door, saying the problem is ‘you’re not centred and single minded girl.’

How to lean into the fear and just begin? Perhaps I should avoid reading the draft at all, and just write the characters that still call to me.

The books I love whatever their genre have amazing and enthralling characters that stay with you. You care about their fate; you want them to do well; you love their idiosyncrasies  They do not bore you; they often surprise you but paradoxically are steady and believable. What’s to fear – I want to create and have others meet characters like that.

My need to meet them overrides my fear.

(Originally written in response to a Write Practice challenge  http://thewritepractice.com/excited-about-rejection/)