Having been raised learning I should take great pains not to tell the world what happens in my house, I worry that what I write or say will reveal too much, or that my revelations will be inaccurate, imprecise, not right. Maybe it is because of this worry that I write. As an adolescent I could pen my thoughts and thus express them without ever needing to tell anyone and fretting over how they would respond. Now I am aware that I will likely have an audience, but in that first encounter with the page, I am alone. I write first and worry later. I write so I can edit, so I can hone and cut and elaborate, so I can make absolutely certain I’ve said all and only what I need to say. I write so I can refresh experience, cast it with such beauty the key players won’t wince, will even be glad, to hear my version told.
I write, but I worry. Before I published What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison, a book that reveals accounts of my father’s family about which he rarely speaks, I gave him first right of refusal. Had he not wanted those poems seen in book form, I was willing to figure out what else I would do. His lack of concern supported my belief that my family often guards its stories unnecessarily. He is happy with the book, seemingly unphased to have this version of his story told.