Write the Truth
Okay this goes along with tip number three. Number three out of ten. This is the most important tip. Write the Truth. That's why we come to writing, that's why we read. In any genre we want the truth. We want to be reading and we wanna feel like yeah, oh yeah, I get that. I'm gonna play you a story now from Writing Class Radio, just want you to sit and listen. And the story was written by a student in my class named Chaplain Tyler, and the story was written actually in the form of a letter, which is a legitimate literary form. And I want you to listen for how she writes authentically and how the truth comes out.
Dear Frankie, you're the only person who will understand this, I can't stop looking at pictures of Har Enough on the internet and I'm envious of her. I look at photos from her life and I can't help but want what she has. She's not conventionally beautiful, but I think it's her sense of style that I find the most provocative. There's something that's so reminiscent of the '70s...
with her, her shaggy bangs and layered bob remind me of Patty Smith. Her eccentric sense of style, there's something about her that's so artistic and so high-bred, something so masculine and so feminine, something I think I possess too. I think there's something that's so beautiful and transcendent about people who are in transition. I've also been talking to Martine about her transition, how it's going and I can't help but feel jealous but also incredibly confused. Right before I left for New York City for Miami, Martine asked me, ask yourself this "How do you envision yourself growing old, as a woman or as a man?" I suppose I've always seen myself as feminine, but is it too late for me, I wonder? I'm scared of society, I'm scared that I'm too old and that my body has taken too masculine of a shape to be redirected. Martine says we are both lucky to have slender and feminine frames because it'll help with the ability to pass in the real world. I'm afraid of all of the bigots out there. I'm afraid of being even more of a target than I already am. I'm afraid of all of the stories that I hear where trans women, especially trans women of color are murdered. I want to leave an honest and truthful life, but sometimes I fear that I lack the courage to do so. Also, is there a place to exist in the middle? I know that you don't need all of the surgeries to feel complete as a trans person. But I am uncertain of my next move. I feel like you're the only person who will understand this. I know you will tell me something honest and from the heart, to be honest, I wonder if it would even come as a shock to most people. Most people mistake me for being a woman on the street anyway. Just last weekend I had the bathroom attendant tell me that I was in the wrong restroom. I look at myself in the mirror and I see my long locks of wavy black hair, I feel like my face has become more femininely cut. I like the way I especially look when I have blush on because I feel like it creates a more sharp appearance. I see my collarbones and I think that they're feminine. I took a picture of myself in a thong and sent it to the guy. I look at it and I think, "Wow, that could be a woman's body." But this is the issue with bodies for ya, you always want more. I want my shoulders to be less broad and my arms to be slimmer. I want my facial hair to disappear so I don't have to wear makeup. I don't think my parents would really care if I transitioned I've shocked them enough anyway. I just don't wanna have any regrets when it's already too late. When I think about Martine's question, how I envision myself growing old, I definitely don't see a wrinkled old man.
Okay, so that story feels so powerful, and so true. She's writing completely authentically, the way she would write to her friend, Frankie.
Everyone has a story to tell, and most everyone has a desire to tell it. What stops some is the mistaken belief that they can’t write. But if you can speak you can write. And the most important thing for a writer to do when telling their story is to speak the truth.
Andrea Askowitz is a teacher, writer, performer, and co-host and creator of the podcast Writing Class Radio. In this class, she’ll inspire you to figure out what your story is, help you write a first draft, and learn key techniques to strengthen your writing.
In this class, you’ll learn how to:
- Mine your life for story ideas.
- Start with the who, what, where and when of your story.
- Use specific details.
- Raise the stakes by figuring out why you’re telling this story.
- Create a likable narrator, which means a vulnerable narrator.
- Practice by reading your story out loud and telling your story without reading it.