Erana Leiken gives a compelling reason for sharing memories on her blog, justdoingmything.com: The Healing Power of Memoirjustdoingmything.com: The Healing Power of Memoir
Her memories of her father are compelling. She admits that writing about a painful experience and sharing it with others can be difficult. I agree. Writing about painful experiences can be difficult – just talking about painful memories can be even harder. I have found that it is often difficult for the veterans I talk to share their experiences with me.
Some veterans refuse to talk about the war. I try very hard to be sensitive to their feelings while still stressing how important I believe it is to tell their stories – this doesn't always work. Last year I tried to convince my brother to give an interview to a PBS producer for a documentary the producer was working on – one that airs in a few weeks – my brother said no. The producer wanted me to give him my brother's telephone number but though I am a writer my first loyalty was to my big brother. As much as I wanted my brother’s experience featured in this documentary I could not give the producer Samuel's telephone number – I will tell Samuel's story.
WE CANNOT FORGET THE PAST
I believe that when we share stories about the human condition we keep humanity alive – we ensure that future generations will have a clear picture of their shared past. There is also healing in talking about painful experiences. Erana had that experience.
My focus right now is on the story of the black World War II service member, but there are other stories that need to be told. I'd like to hear from other writers about human stories that should be told. Eventually I will start writing my story also. In the meantime I plan to follow Erana's lead and participate in a public reading. I belong to a local writer's group that has a monthly open-mike and I am going to attend the event.