Our stories: how we change the world

Thank you to everyone who came to First Monday, First Person’s First Anniversary earlier this week, and to those of you who sent warm wishes to our merry band.


On Monday night I was reminded again why I call these people my “fearless, peerless writers.” The stories we heard were so diverse, and yet they shared a power to change the world.

We write about what we love, and what we fight to change. We write about injustice we’ve experienced, or witnessed. We write about bad behavior and good; our own and others’. We write about the many ways the world has changed around us, because what is “normal” today is forgotten tomorrow. The sound of a manual typewriter is already as exotic as the surface of Mars. What will be the next “normal” thing to be stolen from us by progress, unless we record it?

On Monday night, our readers took us with them on journeys through space and time–a vacation in Utah, a reminiscence on our evolving relationships with technology.  We laughed ourselves silly over landing the family car in a haystack, and sighed with profound sadness recalling the fall of Saigon in 1975.

And more than one reader shared messages of advocacy: for body acceptance, for gender equity, for interracial harmony.

As Jill Ker Conway (one of my all-time-favorite memoirists) wrote in When Memory Speaks: Reflections on Autobiography: “We experience life from a single point of view. We want to know how the world looks from inside another person’s experience.”

That’s the power of a true story, well told. When we know how the world looks to someone else, we can more easily see what’s unjust, inequitable. With the benefit of their perspective, we can more clearly see what needs to happen to reduce the injustice in the world.

Nothing can change the world quite like a story.



About first person productions

My blog "True Stories Well Told" is a place for people who read and write about real life. I’ve been leading life writing groups since 2004. I teach, coach memoir writers 1:1, and help people publish and share their life stories.
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