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

August Interviews

8/5 Lucy Burdette, The Key Lime Crime

8/12 Maggie Toussaint, All Done With It

8/19 Julie Mulhern, Killer Queen

8/26 Debra Goldstein, Three Treats Too Many

August Guest Bloggers

8/8 Leslie Wheeler

8/15 Jean Rabe

August Interviews

8/22 Kait Carson

8/29 WWK Authors--What We're Reading Now


Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


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 S. Hamilton 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.