In Need Of Your Advice

WKFFposterWell, my book is done.  I’m looking at it.

And I keep looking at it and reading it over and over and I have a distinct decision to make before I release it.

The whole intention behind writing “Will Knit For Food” was to talk about how I ended up homeless, and how I ended up knitting a teddy bear to get me out of that mess. In order to write the book, I went back through my journals (yes, before I blogged I wrote constantly by hand in journals), and then my later blogs to put the whole story together. As I was reading, I kept thinking what to put in, what to leave out. And why? There were some issues I discussed that I felt I just didn’t have the guts to put to press without hurting people….including myself.

Allow me to make this statement before you go on: some of them DO deserve being hurt. But, others don’t. There are particular situations that people ask me about, and in order to answer them honestly, I have to evade  the truth, to protect someone else. But, the more I read this manuscript, the more I feel…..what needs to be said, hasn’t been said.

I decided to transcribe the book from my journals and my blogs, so that you could read (as was happening) what  was happening to me AS it was happening, rather than a moment of narrative hindsight. And I found myself allowing some moments to be omitted. Yet, the more I read it, the more I saw this gaping hole. This huge admission of denial that was being left out. The dots weren’t being connected, issues were being unattended to. Why didn’t your family help you? And when they did, why did it take a year for them to help? And instantly, you had a complete dismissal of your father, that you cut him out quickly and refused any contact ever again. You spent so long building a relationship with him that you enjoyed and one day you refused his last name? And that his wife proclaimed to you with enjoyment, “your father is leaving you a dollar in his will.” Why I hadn’t seen my sister, nor heard from her in 16 years, and that she arrives one day in Savannah…..for a very long and heartfelt talk about our past. Our collective past of abuse.

“I lost my job, then lost everything and ended up homeless.”

No, there was more to it than that. A lot more. Molestation, being an embarrassment to my mother, being exiled and shunned to keep me quiet. And when I was reading my work, the dismissal of charges so deep and damnable that would have sent someone to prison, were let go….And I couldn’t help but think that my own dismissal of such madness, of such anger, of such offense, was helping to perpetuate a horrid thing. By not admitting to what happened, I was allowing it to remain…..like they had.

You’re not supposed to talk about such things….

So, I read the original manuscript, then read the one leaving out some very important moments. And some part of me says the reason this book took so long is because I truly feel anguish over wondering if I should say everything….or just go ahead and let it go. Because you know, once I do, there is no going back. I can’t take it back once I tell everything.

But, what did I have before? Nothing…..not much of anything. And in some respects, it was my desire to protect someone else’s social standing that kept me quiet…..

I wanted your advice because I wouldn’t have made it this far without you. I wouldn’t even be alive. But, I have to confess, even with the urgings of close friends like Kara (whom I trust more than anyone) that say, “you don’t wanna do this, Gregory…” that I feel I have to. She and I have had VERY long talks about this book, and she is adamant that I don’t proceed. Because she feels in my heart, I wouldn’t truly hurt anyone on purpose….and that this book would.

But, some part of me says this whole journey won’t have meant anything, ANYTHING, this story of mine won’t be ANYTHING real or genuine or RIGHT if I don’t say what needs to be said.

This life of mine would be a momentary incident in some monster’s life….

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28 comments

  1. We should never feel ashamed for being honest. It’s YOUR story. If someone should be offended or hurt by something you’ve included in your story, maybe that’s a good time for them to look within? Don’t be afraid to tell your story. We have one life to live. If you feel bad about telling certain things about people, maybe just devote a couple sentences to explaining your current relationship, or that you hold nothing against them? Maybe it would help save hurt feelings.

  2. This is a very in-depth and personal post, and I applaud you on the courage to talk about this and the upcoming book. I am sure Kara knows better of the whole manuscript, and your journey, especially your beautiful heart. Though I agree with you as if you are not pleased with seeing the holes in the book, will your readers feel that void as well..? I read all of your blogs here and I feel your an amazing writer and human being, so I know for myself the book is on my wish list as is… Though for your healing, the monster needs to be slain and you need your footing, but most of all your redemption, your life given back to you as it was taken long ago from the turmoil of events.
    My personal dragon was slain when I prosecuted my abuser, I then took my life back, but has the haunting ceased..? No… As I’ve been prompted to write it, and I haven’t had the courage, but your post tonight gives me strength as many of your posts do… So, whether you chose to leave out parts or chose to tell all, just know “we” your followers believe in you no matter what, and even though our paths may never cross in person, via your posts our hearts already have many times… You are not alone, and you are loved much by many of us here and on Facebook…

    Much love and admiration always, Lynie L Vinyard with Bring In Light

  3. I have been told I am “too honest for my own good”, meaning that it would have been beneficial for me to lie rather than admitting the truth. So, generally speaking you see, I believe honesty, with tact, is the best policy. However, It is too easy for me, who doesn’t know what “thing” you might tell that would hurt someone that you don’t want to hurt, to advise you to tell all. With out knowing the details, I just can’t say, do it. You are the only one who can make this decision.

  4. A sensitive person has difficulties when it comes to sharing anything that might be hurtful to others. A sensitive person puts himself last many times. The saying, ‘Is it kind? Is it necessary? If not it’s best left unsaid…’ works most of the time, but when it is a very delicate situation, that ‘necessary’ part becomes gray. One doesn’t want to live a lie, but one doesn’t want to be hurtful either. It sounds as if you’re going to clarify those gaping holes and will do it with sensitivity and integrity.

  5. Sometimes the most important part of healing is writing about it to give it space outside of your own mind/life. Sometimes those things should be shared widely, and sometimes they should be kept within a very small circle, and sometimes they should be private between you and the paper/screen.

    Right now, it sounds like this book is still very fresh. Perhaps it would be wise to put it aside for a period of time – days or weeks perhaps – and then revisit this question of how to proceed. If sharing the information will cause harm that you may not fully be ready to inflict, then pausing is best. There is no ‘undo’ in life. Sometimes you need a fresh perspective to really be able to determine the right path forward.

    Ultimately, only you can decide if you should proceed, but based on what I read in this post it sounds like you wouldn’t be happy with it in the current state and you don’t seem quite comfortable with the idea of the potential outcome of revealing all the details. I would say that means that you should step back and review, revise, ponder and find a different path forward.

  6. You should be proud of yourself for your honesty, integrity and the courage to be true to yourself. I love to read all your posts and you have a gift. And the greatest thing is that you are learning the true lesson in life. To repeat a reply from above: the truth will set you free. We should all learn from you.

  7. Hey Teddy Man….be HONEST and if you ever saw the Movie or read the book THE HELP…..it was tremendously popular!!! I think that the writer didn’t reveal real names but it was pretty easy for the people involved to figure out who everyone was. CREATIVE Honesty is the Best policy. Sometimes people are so honest and drone on and on so be creative in your writing, write from the heart and it will be good!

  8. I think honesty is what is going to help heal this sore. Maybe don’t use ‘real names’, but the bottom line is the truth is the truth. You should not have been placed in harms way and we all make poor decisions. I feel if you are writing this book about YOUR life, what has happened and lead to different situations, and where you are know ….then don’t leave things out….those ‘things’ are what make up who you are and where you are, good or bad, they are part of your life story. If people are angry, then maybe they should look at themselves and figure out why they did that. It sounds to me like writing it has made you think a lot about you.

    Maybe you need to step away from the book for a period of time and look deep into your soul and then go back to it.

    Best wishes and I know you will make the right decision for YOU!

  9. I suppose it makes one wonder the purpose of writing the book. If the intent is to hurt others, then it would not be a good thing. Honesty is always important. If the purpose is to help others, then perhaps a pseudo name and/or changing the names of others might be helpful (for the world at large, that haven’t been following you). Have you put this conundrum to prayer? Not a single one of us can tell you what choice you ought make. God bless you.

  10. WOW! What an honest look into the heart of a writer. I went through the same agony when I wrote my book. I wrote it, let a couple of friends read it and they were in shock. They told me there was no way I could publish that stuff because it would ruin so many people and hurt some of the people I loved the most if they knew the truth about my addiction to meth. I didnt agree with them at first. I was hurt, I was angered, and I was frustrated. I felt as if my friends didn’t see the literary merit in my work. That wasn’t it at all., they knew that there was more to the story and that its message could be told without harming anyone.

    I sat down that night, I started writing. I didn’t look at that manuscript again and in 8 weeks, of nearly morning til night of writing, the new book was done. I wrote it for me. I wrote it for freedom. But most of all, it didn’t matter what people thought this time because I knew that I wasn’t out to harm anyone. There are few stories in there that my family say happened differently, but there are three sides to ever story. My side, their side, and the truth. Today all i can do is live in the truth, and it seems like that is what you are trying to do. Don’t force the writing, you have a gift. Use the gift!

    S.M.I.L.E. “Small Miracles In Life Exist” , Remember you are a miracle!
    Bubba Jenkins

  11. Will you help more then you hurt by sharing your story? I grew up in a family where the elephant wasn’t and still isn’t spoken about as it sits there in the middle of the room watching us. So many lives are effected by abuse of some kind but no one talks about it. I’ve spent a long time getting help for the abuse that I went through. And still we enable those that hurt us most. So much anger and hurt. If only those actually doing the hurting would get the help. I wish there was an easy answer to your question but these situations are hard. I pray your heart leads you to the answer.

  12. From my perspective as a professional editor, I would be asking whether the book makes sense and tells a coherent story. All authors miss things out in the stories that they tell, so omission is not bad per se; however, if omission makes the story confusing or causes it to lose its intended meaning, then you are not doing your job as a writer. You need an editor who does not already know the details of your story to give you advice on whether the book works or not in its current format. If you already have an editor, they shouldn’t have let you get to this stage if the book does not make sense (they should, at least, have highlighted issues of consistency/omissions/non sequiturs etc) and if you don’t have an editor – get one!
    Whether you personally feel that you have omitted things that you now want to include is a different matter and one that only you can decide. Your readers are bound to be curious and you have now piqued their interest, so you are bound to get lots of requests for the full truth… after all, we’re only human.
    My main suggestion is that you think very carefully about the purpose of the book. What do you want to achieve with it? Why are you publishing it? Who did you write it for? If you can answer these questions honestly, they may help you to see more clearly what you should include.
    x

  13. I would say be true to your heart in this, it is your book, a compromise may be that you don’t need to name and give all details enough to tell the story and may be a few names changed and situations blurred to keep anyone from getting hurt, not holes, and be true to you! Kara will see the best other than yourself, ask her how you fill them with out making too much pain for innocents! also remember you can never unsay or un-print anything!!!! always think one more time. and of course be true to yourself, humm might have said that already!!! I blog my life and am always careful about people or details, as not only now when I post but in the future when I look back I rather blur too much than post something that can bite me! but this is a snap shot of me not my life in print!!!!
    I would suggest putting it aside for a while and returning when your not so close to it.
    you will make the right choice!

  14. While you stay silent, you are in effect, giving away your rights yet again. Take time to let this question roll around inside your heart – any decision must be yours, and yours alone. Wait for the stillness and in that stillness, you will hear the answer. ♥

  15. Take this post and put it as your forward – mission accomplished. You don’t disturb your writing – and you let people know what and why you feel about your family. If people treated you badly, they don’t deserve any mention in your book – which is by about and must be for you. Good luck.

  16. Patrick, I love you as a brother, as a friend, as a fellow human being in life. If this whole thing is disturbing you, than why don’t you make 2 versions: 1. The whole truth and nothing, but the truth to release to those who choose to purchase the whole, unadulterated truth; and 2. The abridged version of the book for those who choose to prefer someone’s lifestory, but only want to hear the short version.

    I personally, would prefer to read the whole version because I feel that the more people who read it, the more it will free your person and your soul in the knowing that there are a lot of people you may save by allowing them to read it.
    HUGS! & I hope to meet you someday.

  17. Your post made me revisit my own time of abandonment. Maybe it’s the hurt some would feel if you still had some semblance of acquaintance. Family and friends backed out one by one until it was just me. I guess to a large extent I am grateful for that because as the re-entered my life I was able to better judge how to regard them in my life. If I had to write it all down would I include them, it’s hard for other people to see themselves through other’s eyes in a situation where they were less than stellar, on the other hand, it was through their actions that you probably found strength that you didn’t know you had which helped shape how you are today.

  18. Perhaps in the writing is your healing. The printing is your gift to the world. You choose, based on what you want to live with.
    You are loved.

  19. I think you should tell your story… all of it. If for no other reason than your own health. None of it is your fault and you shouldn’t have to carry around other people’s stories.

    I believe that in writing your story, you will help other people to tell theirs. And maybe you will save a young person, who isn’t as strong as you and may think about taking their own lives rather than tell their story.

    There is a movement out there called the semi colon project https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Semicolon-Project/659615364052145

    The Semi Colon project is about suicide awareness. A semi colon is the point in the sentence when the writer could have ended the sentence, but chose to go on.

    I believe you’ve been given a voice to help others and in doing so will help yourself. I hope you find peace.

    Lisa

  20. I think that you should do what you feel is right, for both yourself and the story. If you feel that the story isn’t complete without the story of things that you don’t think you should put in it, then you owe it to yourself and the story, which is the story of you, to put them in.

    And maybe you’ll feel a sense of relief to put those things out in the world. Generally, I’ve observed if you voice a feeling, then that feeling will generally be less strong, and maybe then it’ll start to trigger some sort of healing process. At least that’s the hope.

  21. The “truth” will set your free, but inside us we must have the power of forgiveness to move forward. Telling the truth will not release anything unless you have forgiven. Forgiveness does not set the other person free, it sets you free from the power the other person has had over your life. Do some simple Bible study on forgiveness or see if the library has a copy of the book “Devil in Pew Number 7” a powerful book on forgiveness which shed a light for me on how powerful we let other people who have hurt us rule over our lives. Best of luck, but I’m thinking just cause you say it or spell it out it will not release anything you desire until you learn forgiveness. Think of the 7 steps to freedom sayings, You are not responsible for what someone else thinks or does, as you were not raised in their situation.

  22. Patrick,
    First and foremost, I applaud your COURAGE to share this in this BLOG forum and being open to hear supporting and contrasting points of view about something that is so personal and so deep in the story of YOU. I think your dear friend who said this is NOT what you want to do is ultimately and genuinely looking out for your interest because she cares about you. While you have experienced such trials, you have created a beautiful network of friends close and then some perhaps like me who knows you for your beautiful heart and INCREDIBLE artisan craftsman work with creating these FOREVER LOVES, your amazing bears.

    You already know that you have the ultimate say in this and what is to go in the book and to print the book or not. I have always found the strength in supporting the voice that I have from the life experiences and the path I have walked and that when we silence the secrets by casting a light on them, the shadows from those secrets that somehow can at times invade our most precious and beautiful life moments, no longer hold that power over us because by acknowledging them, we take the power they have over us and give it back to ourselves. Telling the truth, sometimes as hard, challenging and ugly as it might be for each of us, is filled with the reward of empowerment, self-reliance, dignity and reclaiming a sense of ourselves and our history that has up to the point of acknowledgment held a piece of us captive in one way or another.

    I know you will find the right course of action for you because my incredibly talented, creative, and inspiring friend, you have already answered your own question in one of the last sentences of your own original post above…”this story of mine won’t be ANYTHING real or genuine or RIGHT if I don’t say what needs to be said.”

    FREE yourself Patrick in whatever way that means for you…and say what YOU FEEL needs to be said.

  23. Wow reading your story has open my own eye’s to things I truly thought bad thing only happen to me. It has toke a lot of your dignity away from you and made you who you are today. I would like to say this is about you and your story of your life and you should totally be honest about it, but if you hold back you will never move forward in your life. Maybe you will hurt some people but you need to ask yourself this if the table was turn toward them in the way you had to deal with yourself thru life would they try for save you from getting hurt to a point. I do understand some what you are going thru yourself because there are thing I wish I can get over with and move forwards with my own life but I feel the shame and the abandonment from those who does not understand. So you carry the hurt with you each day and moment of your life. Let me tell you to get hard and harder as you get older to hide the hurt or the truth. You owe this to yourself to heal as a wonderful person you are holding back. The time has come to re-lease your monster from with in yourself to be happy like anyone else. You have in-spiral me with your little story you ha told and I would enjoy knowing how your life will turn out after you tell the hole story. Knowing if you can do this maybe this will in-spiral me to tell my story. I wish you the best in what you decide to do tell the hole truth or hide the truth it’s your story. What do you feel that you need to do what matter the most don’t try to please every one and leave you handing to deal with the hurt or being abandon. Just open up and let the light shine down on you and feel the freedom that comes with it .

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