Our stories, our selves

My work is emotionally autobiographical. It has no relationship to the actual events of my life, but it reflects the emotional currents of my life ~Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams

This quotation from Tenessee Williams seems to me to encapsulate where dreams and creative writing are the same.

Being literal-minded, if we try to relate the writing to the author we only do it in a direct way, wondering whether the people in the story are based on real people or the events are things the author has actually experienced.

We do the same with dreams, especially if we focus only on the symbols and not the emotions.

But even where we don’t find any obvious connection between the story and the author, the dream and the dreamer, it is powerfully there because dreams, like fiction, are simply story-versions of the dreamer’s or author’s emotional experiences.

Have you ever written a story that seemed to have nothing to do with your own life, only to realise later that it was ‘emotionally autobiographical’?

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8 thoughts on “Our stories, our selves

  1. Rebel Sowell

    As I write stories I often discover almost every character shares bits and pieces of my emotions. For me, it’s impossible to create without putting parts of me in there somewhere.

    Reply
    1. Jenny Alexander Post author

      Yes – I’m a private person and I used to try really hard to keep myself out, but it simply isn’t possible

      Reply
  2. Vicky

    Yes, even when the ostensible themes are very different, I discover I’m still exploring the same old concerns and questions …

    Reply
    1. Jenny Alexander Post author

      Me too, and sometimes it’s recurrent themes in my writing that show me where I have issues I didn’t even know I had. Also certain characters keep popping up – I’ve noticed almost all my children’s stories include a strong supportive elderly man or woman

      Reply
  3. sherrie

    A writing coach, as well as an author of historical fiction, both suggested to me that our stories are ways that we writers work out the same issues we deal with in life. We may use very different settings and characters, but we can’t write about something that we haven’t learned and understand. Sometimes we can’t finish a story because we haven’t finished learning the lesson or moral of that story.
    It makes sense to me! ;-)

    Reply
  4. Candy Gourlay

    I’ve been looking for a way to say this but finding it difficult. Am only just realizing that some very heavy issues made it into my forthcoming novel while I wasn’t looking!

    Reply

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