Anne Lamott answered a question of mine today. No, literally. TED hosted a Facebook live video with the author, and encouraged viewers to comment with their questions for her. I, loving Lamott and all of her writing, jumped at this. “In your memoirs,” I asked, “how do you balance telling YOUR story with honoring the stories of others and protecting their own privacy when they intersect and overlap with yours?”
I didn’t expect she’d really answer it, as the host and Lamott kept chatting, BUT THEN SHE DID. The host read my name aloud and posed my question (about the 8:20 mark), and Lamott started talking while I freaked out. She knew my name! She saw my picture! She heard my question! She is literally answering my question right now for thousands of people, including me!
I’ve never been much of a fangirl, but I guess we know now what gets me excited…
Anyway. What Lamott had to say in response to my question was powerful.
“You own everything that has happened to you,” she said. “If people wanted you to write better about them, they should have behaved better.”
That’s the real deal, right there.
You see, I asked this question because it’s one I’ve been wrestling with a lot lately. I’m a writer, a blogger, a designer. I have accounts on all the social media sites, and even though I’m not some Instagram celebrity, I do have followers. I do, I’ve come to realize, have a platform, however small. I know I have a story, and I have a deep conviction that I should use whatever platform I have to tell that story… but it’s hard to figure out just how best to do that.