“I don’t want to become one of your life lessons,” he said to me. “I don’t want you to turn me into that.”
Still, to this day, those are the hardest words I’ve ever had to hear someone tell me. It was hard because underneath those lines, I knew he was really saying, “I’m fearful.” Fearful that we’ll stop playing in the lines of one another’s stories. Fearful that the only way to move on from this will be to wrap the whole thing up with some big red bow and a moral and offer it up to the world as a lesson learned.
I think the best kinds of writers, whether they see it or not, are the ones who give grace that expands on the page. The ones who understand that writing about the life of someone else—no matter how boldly they touched you or how much they hurt you—isn’t just the maniac workings of a Taylor Swift burn song. If you aren’t careful, the words you write on a page will leave very little room for redemption. And us, as human beings, were made for some kind of redemption.
But please, don’t just throw your feelings on a page when you’re angry or upset or you want to make a moral out of someone else. That’s a life. That’s a character in your story. That’s someone who can change at any moment. Just because they are a character, an integral someone to the someone that you are, does not mean you get to write their life story or that you get to eternalize who they are for the world to read. You only get to write about who they’ve been to you. I think smart writers slip grace beneath every door their characters stand beside. Because we all need so much grace.
words taken from hannahbrencher.com