“But I talk about my life anyway because if, on the one hand, hardly anything could be less important, on the other hand, hardly anything could be more important. My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours. (Emphasis added)
“Maybe nothing is more important than that we keep track, you and I, of these stories of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way because it is precisely through these stories in all their particularity…that God makes himself known to each of us most powerfully and personally.”
— Frederick Buechner, an American writer and theologian,
in Telling Secrets: A Memoir, page 30
Obviously I was struck by Buechner’s admission that his story, if told “anything like right” will be recognizable to others as their story.
Writers: What is your takeaway on this? What do you think Buechner means by anything like right? Share in the comments.
Michael Ehret, for Writing on the Fine Line
transparency of emotion and thought in the writer has such power to touch the reader. It is the emotional bonding to the writer or the character that drives our reading.
Debra, I would agree. When a writer holds part of himself or herself back, I can almost always tell when reading their manuscripts.
Genuine. Honest. Not sugar coated. Few people can relate to perfection. We can all find ourselves in stories of failure, loss, disappointment and despair which makes those perfect moments so much sweeter.
Another great point. I find characters that are too perfect unapproachable and therefore, not someone I can learn from or empathize with.
I think he means with any pretentiousness stripped away.
Unvarnished? With the essential truths intact. I can agree with that.
I interpret “anything like right” to mean the story minus the sensationalism; it has to be down to earth and relatable. The funniest moments, deepest feelings, or most believable thoughts in stories often involve things we readers have experienced ourselves.
Tanara, I like “minus the sensationalism.” And good insight about what involves readers.