We might be embarrassed about the whole truth or maybe we just don’t want to tell how we handled the situation so we remove our part or change our part from the truth.
In an essay at Glimmer Train, discusses an assignment that is given to every student at her university: to write about “the most important thing ever to happen to me.” Immigrants may have breathtaking and heartbreaking stories, she notes, but what about the average student, a “So Cal surfer guy”? Vaz asks:
Narwin meant nothing against patriotism by sending Philip out of the class, two, Philip isn’t doing anything in the sake of Patriotism, three, Philip is a liar who gets around the truth, four, not only does the gossip of people blow things our of proportion, but the press defiantly does too, and five, there is a teacher/student stereotype that gibes the student a “p...
What’s the nature (or even the point) of truth-telling here? [One student] wrote that the most important thing ever to happen to him was…the night he and his pals got drunk and knocked down the mailboxes in the neighborhood. The easiest thing would have been to dismiss him out-of-hand. But I asked him if this was indeed what he wanted to write about—he did—so I asked him to tell me more about that night.
For me telling the truth is quite simple when I know for certain that
it's the truth I'm telling and not something I've heard from another
We might be embarrassed about the whole
truth or maybe we just don’t want to tell how we handled the situation
so we remove our part or change our part from the truth.
What Vaz discovers is that the act of writing each story can be a vital exploration about the nature of truths you might not even know you carried.
Vaz’s essay made me cry, Jane. I’ve never had a “Killing Fields” event like the young man from Cambodia, nor am I a surfer dude from California (though my middle-class upbringing from Texas sounds similar to #2). The whole essay conveyed the central truth in the the final line … why stories matter.