If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Here are our September WWK interviews:

September 5: Marilyn Levinson/Allison Brooke, Read and Gone

September 12: Libby Klein, Midnight Snacks Are Murder

September 19: Annette Dashofy, Cry Wolf

September 26: Judy Penz Sheluk

Our September Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 9/1--Peter Hayes, 9/8--Wendy Tyson, 9/29--Catherine Bruns. Margaret S. Hamilton blogs on 9/15, and Kait Carson blogs on 9/22.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

KM Rockwood's new short story, "Map to Oblivion," has been included the anthology Shhhh...Murder! edited by Andrew MacRae and published by Darkhouse Books. It was released on Sept. 12.

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming."

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Shared Fictions and Lifelong Friendships

by Julie Tollefson

In my last post a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about some of the treasures tucked away in my grandmother’s closets. In a comment, blog mate KM Rockwood talked about uncovering similar memories when she and her siblings sorted through the contents of her mother’s house. Then she said, “I have refrained from correcting stories about some items. After all, suppose I am wrong? I don't want to shatter memories. They are very subjective anyhow.”

The subjective nature of memories and how that relates to storytelling is something I think about quite a bit. I’m fascinated by how memories and stories form a kind of glue that binds relationships over years and decades.

We have a group of friends, five couples, who have a long history together. Though two of the couples have moved away, when we get together, we fall into the same rhythms and tell the same stories that have defined our collective lives since we were young, before children and jobs and assorted responsibilities chipped away at the time we spend together.

Over the years, though, the details of some of our stories—a location, an occasion, the people involved—have morphed. It’s different from the game of telephone, where a message or phrase changes as it passes whisper by whisper through a chain of people. It’s almost as if as a group we silently and unanimously agreed that a different reality is more fun, more real, more genuine than the actual events we’re recounting.

In the beginning, I listened to these retellings and thought, “That’s not how it happened.” Now, I’ve come to believe that it doesn’t make a difference that some of the details don’t match my memories because the underlying truth of the story remains and, in some cases, is stronger because of the change.

In a sense, our collective memories function for our group the same way the best fiction can in society. A well-told story exposes layers of truths or lies, teaches us about ourselves and our preconceptions/misconceptions, exposes us to experiences we wouldn’t otherwise have, and binds us culturally. All of this and yet, by definition, fiction is not “true.”

The stories we return to with our friends represent the shared experiences that have become part of the fabric we’ve woven around and through our friendships of the last 30-plus years. And if a few embellishments here and there make the fabric stronger, who’s to say that’s wrong?

Have you noticed your favorite stories changing over the years, for better or worse?


Jim Jackson said...

When Jan’s brother died last year, I told her “You win. Your version of family events is the only one that still exists.”

My father always had a great memory for details of events, people, places, pretty much everything. Only when some of those memories contradicted my experience of the same events did I realize I had no way of checking the accuracy of all the stuff that happened before me. Even with a few inaccuracies or smudged memories, even up to his death he still had a better memory for that kind of stuff than I. On the other hand, my memories are triggered by visuals. I can drive through a place I haven’t been for two decades and remember something about a gas station or diner or where I saw a particular bird. I’m screwed when people take down old fences or remove falling down barns—I’m lost until I see something else familiar.

~ Jim

Grace Topping said...

Enjoyable post, Julie. I find myself at the age when some memories become vague, and you get different versions of it depending on who was involved. And sometimes we can convince ourselves something didn't happen because we don't remember it.

Shari Randall said...

Lots to think about here, Julie. In the last few years I've noticed the same phenomenon. My sisters and I will sit around and it seems that we each have our own take on past events. Which is true, isn't it! But I'll never forget that it was my younger sister who rode her new tricycle into the Christmas tree, not me.

Margaret Turkevich said...

I have vivid memories of my children's antics...that they insist I fabricated! My young son managed to unlock the door to the unfloored attic, fall through the garage ceiling AND catch and pull himself up. I also found him toasting marshmallows on a coat hanger after he removed the front of the gas furnace.

I sent the local EMS crew a Christmas card every year to let them know he had made it through another year.

Gloria Alden said...

Unfortunately, my brother and cousins closest in age to me have died. My sisters are seven and nine years younger so some of our memories are the same, but others are different. Still we have fond memories of our parents, grandmother, and the brother closest in age to me.

KM Rockwood said...

Gloria, I come from a big family, too. I was second oldest, and now I am the last one left of the first four.

When I hear my younger siblings' talk, sometimes I feel like there must have been an entirely different family living in the house with me. Surely the parents who encouraged my younger sisters work after school and summers were not the same ones who insisted my older sister and I come directly home from school because the world was such a dangerous place for girls, and besides, our help was needed at home!

As time goes on, I think the memories have mellowed and morphed into what we need them to be. Which are different for all of us.

Julie Tollefson said...

I'm thoroughly enjoying all of the memories and thoughts about memories you all are sharing. Margaret - I laughed out loud (in public) when I read your Christmas card comment.

Family memories are tricky, I think. It's interesting to me how many of your conflicting memory stories have to do with siblings.