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Nateskate
10-05-2007, 11:51 PM
I just wanted to say how powerful people's stories are to me. There were times in my life where I had completely misunderstood others. And then when I heard them telling their life's story, my eyes would be opened to this very interesting dynamic human that I may have misjudged.

I'm wondering if this has happened to others??? Has anyone read a person's story and was never able to see them the same way again?

JoNightshade
10-05-2007, 11:58 PM
Absolutely. It's my theory that almost anyone is likeable if you just know where they're coming from. I can't count the times I've judged someone just based on their personality or how they acted towards me, only to realize later that their actions were heavily influenced by some horrible event in their life. Soooo I try to be much more willing to give people the benefit of the doubt.

A friend of mine and I were talking about this a few weeks ago. She had a miscarriage earlier this year and was really, really upset about it (naturally; she wants kids like nothing else). She said the week after it happened, she was an absolute bitch to everyone she saw (fortunately I was out of the country!). A month or two after, however, she found herself getting really pissed off at someone's behavior. Then she thought to herself, 'Now wait a minute. What did everyone think of me when I miscarried? All of those random people I interacted with probably just thought "she's a bitch" because they had no idea where I was coming from. So what if this person who's being a jerk also has a good reason?'

jennifer75
10-05-2007, 11:59 PM
That solves that... you're not gettin your hands on my memoir. :P

Nateskate
10-06-2007, 08:26 PM
That's an insightful perspective, one that makes me slower to get angry and quicker to forgive. We can never see what others have been through until they tell us.


Absolutely. It's my theory that almost anyone is likeable if you just know where they're coming from. I can't count the times I've judged someone just based on their personality or how they acted towards me, only to realize later that their actions were heavily influenced by some horrible event in their life. Soooo I try to be much more willing to give people the benefit of the doubt.

A friend of mine and I were talking about this a few weeks ago. She had a miscarriage earlier this year and was really, really upset about it (naturally; she wants kids like nothing else). She said the week after it happened, she was an absolute bitch to everyone she saw (fortunately I was out of the country!). A month or two after, however, she found herself getting really pissed off at someone's behavior. Then she thought to herself, 'Now wait a minute. What did everyone think of me when I miscarried? All of those random people I interacted with probably just thought "she's a bitch" because they had no idea where I was coming from. So what if this person who's being a jerk also has a good reason?'

Sury
10-07-2007, 06:00 AM
You are absolutely right, Nateskate and Jo. I touched upon the same thing in an article published by ByLine magazine in January this year:


No matter how biased you are; when you observe your story from a distance (created by time), you end up getting a better perspective on others' actions that may have seemed repugnant and hurtful at the time they happened.

The act of writing about our life stories itself can make us more compassionate and understanding, if we approach the subject with a semi-detached disposition. I have experienced that myself. :)

Sury

johnrobison
10-07-2007, 04:53 PM
I just wanted to say how powerful people's stories are to me. There were times in my life where I had completely misunderstood others. And then when I heard them telling their life's story, my eyes would be opened to this very interesting dynamic human that I may have misjudged.

I'm wondering if this has happened to others??? Has anyone read a person's story and was never able to see them the same way again?


I get letters every day from readers who say essentially what you are saying here. With some life stories, that's a common reaction. And it's good because it means you made a real connection with your readers.

A few things are required for this:
1) A story whose elements resonate with readers
2) A style of writing that draws people in and makes them "read fast" so they stay immersed in your tale.
3) Your story must elicit strong reader feelings about YOU from your readers.

melaniehoo
10-08-2007, 11:45 PM
A few things are required for this:
1) A story whose elements resonate with readers
2) A style of writing that draws people in and makes them "read fast" so they stay immersed in your tale.
3) Your story must elicit strong reader feelings about YOU from your readers.

So do you have a how-to manual for this? ;) I think (hope) my story will draw people in, but it's the 'read fast' part I get hung up on. As for #3, I have strong feelings about myself so I hope that comes across in my writing.