Recently, I attended a conference where Tara Westover was one of the keynote speakers. Not as recently, I read her book Educated. So, I was absolutely fan-girling when I discovered that (my professor weeps to herself every time she senses me use the word that. She hated that world and instill in us students that we were forbidden to use it. We were in grad school and no one had apparently told us that was a vague and annoying word. English grammar and syntax is great) she was going to be a keynote at the conference I would be attending.
Reading the book was great. It was eye-opening to see into the life of a person entrenched in a world where systems aren’t trusted. I mean, I have a pretty healthy mistrust in “the system” and “the man”, but I’m still going to the hospital if I’m dying (but only if I’m dying dying. I’m still paying for my last ER visit. Apparently, I found out the hard way I’m allergic to cashews).
But it was seeing her talk about her book from a different perspective that (*weeps*) really struck me.
Also, she’s much funnier in real life and wish it was her voice that was reading her audiobook. I guess it’s one thing to make light of your childhood trauma to a crowd where you are in control of setting the tone versus writing about them and later reading them to an audience in charge of their own reactions.
Her talk at the conference was framing the story about her life to be about ignorance instead of education (which is very loosely what the conference was about). She actually spent most of her time talking about storytelling in general (which I figured out way too late that was what the theme of the conference was about. I was too distracted by the other pomp and circumstance).
Tara (again, one of my best buds) posed the question when is the right age to write a memoir and I really liked the question (it has become a challenge of mine not to write that in this post). She framed the question in a way that (failed) depends on what story you want to tell. Your story and past experiences are refracted through the lenses of age and life experiences. The story of when and how you first fell in love will change as you get older or fall in love again or lose love.
I am obsessed with hearing stories (hence, me starting a blog about reading stories and how they make me feel or what they make me think about). I used to think I couldn’t write my own story because I haven’t “been through enough” yet, but everyone has a story and their story is important and there’s someone out there that needs to hear it (still trying to convince myself).
Do you have a story you want to share? Share it with me in the comments!