we don’t have to understand all

20140815 traveling perspectiveWriter of biography or even memoir has the dilemma that she or he must know all. I have made the same mistakes. One thing I now realize and accept is that I do not know all. I cannot know all. I do not need to know all. If the person who tells the story of her life has selective recalls of her past, it is her choice. If she does not know how to tell but she is willing, I can still extract the facts and reflections from her. But if she chooses to forget, discard and retain segments here and there, and the end product cannot be whole, it is still her story. As writer we may try as a good and conscientious craftsman or a portrait painter. At best we piece together the broken fragments of her life and put them together by putting in lots of filler parts to make it appear whole. What are the filler parts of a persons life? Often we run out of facts, assuming what we hear from the interviewees or read from historical records preserved by persons are accurate historical recalls, even after interviewing many of her friends, relatives and people who used to know her in her past. What do we do to fill in the blanks? A good writer is like the script writer, musician, camera man, sound effect man, director, producer all in one. She puts in other scenes. Related or unrelated. Add richness to the plot. Colors. Interests. Drama. Background music. A book of memoir is like a movie in many ways after all. Some becomes epic. Some a mere storm in a tea cup. As for me, I flow with the flow of time and space. I listen to the wind that blows at the time. I watch the passion or passionless presentation of a soul who wants to bare and recall her pain and joy. I record the heart and not the face. Does it become an epic movie? Not my concern. I merely copy (a person’s life) and write (the person’s book). In a way I am a traveler. I travel through another person’s story and perhaps leave my momentary fleeting mark. Perhaps fixing up the stage props and then I shall move on.

Isaiah 60:15 “Though you were once despised and hated, with no one traveling through you, I will make you beautiful forever, a joy to all generations.


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