Do Over–Let the Story Go

The Daily Prompt today suggests a do-over of a past post. My first thought was – aha! I should be able to whip that out quickly. Not so. I chose a post I had done months ago, soon after I started blogging. I found it needed extensive editing. In earlier blogging days, I didn’t know how or when to hyperlink. Now I do. I added more photos this time around, a strategy that helps lead the reader through the text.

All in all, I’m quite pleased with the reworked version. I give you – Let the Story Go.

I often work with CBC radio podcasts on my laptop for background noise. Now and then something IMG_3468catches my attention. The other day I jotted down a snippet of words on the edge of a scrap of paper. No matter what you’re trying to create – if you’re not scared you’re not really doing it.

These two phrases capture one of the bitter pills a writer must swallow – the risk of letting our stories (translation – our babies) go. We must send our creations into the world where people will judge, evaluate, and horrors of all horrors, possibly not understand. That is quite the frightening prospect. I find myself screaming inside – not my problem child – as I refer to Disappearing in Plain Sight.


Paul_Ricoeur[1]There is no way around this dilemma. If I want my work to have meaning, other people must see it. French philosopher Paul Ricoeur wrote extensively about hermeneutics – the art of interpreting written text. He tells us that the act of fixing anything in text is the beginning of that text’s journey away from the meanings the original author may have intended. The text is freed from the creator, as well as the circumstances in which it was created. It enters the wide world of interpretation.

I realize that what Ricoeur describes will happen to me with every word I write. I cringe and shy away from ever allowing my text to go free. But this act of fixing a story in the written form is not just a hobby. It is something that has become an imperative. There is just this story, and it must be told.

Human beings have a driving need to tell and understand stories as a way of making senseAVT_Kearney_4836[1] of the world. Telling a story lets us pull the threads of our life backward in contemplation and then forward as we create new ways of being. Richard Kearney (2002) writes that telling stories is as basic to human beings as eating. In fact, it may be more so. Food makes us live; stories are what makes our life worth living. And the remarkable thing about all of this is that each story needs to be told. Each becomes a bell echoing out and beyond the storyteller to change every person that hears. This even includes those who may not like the story. They too are changed in some way.

I know I must let the story go. The story must move beyond me. Interpretation is the work of the reader, not the writer. I do all that I can to tell a well-crafted story. Then I sit back and allow the reader to choose the angle of insight.


Kearney, Richard. (2002). On Stories. NY: Routledge

Kearney, Richard. (2007). Paul Ricoeur and the hermeneutics of interpretation. Research in phenomenology, 37. 147-159.

(The image at the top of this post is of the graveyard in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan where my great-grandparents are buried.)

16 comments on “Do Over–Let the Story Go

  1. Serena says:

    Looks like that was really hard work in the end 🙂

  2. Gwen says:

    It’s amazing how much we learn as we go. Great post!

  3. Very well written and researched. 🙂

  4. Could you sound more like me? t’s really difficult to let the story go!

  5. […] Do Over–Let the Story Go « disappearinginplainsight […]

  6. Judy Haar says:

    I worry about judgement which is all about letting the story go. I have written a medical thriller, a series, and it is ready to go out and meet the world. I have had it edited twice (once, wow, the comments that came back) and then again after a major revision. It is ready to live and breath. So, soon I will add it to my other works (non-fiction) that I have already produced on Kindle. Scary. Thanx for the terrific post

    • The judgement thing is a tough one. On the one hand, fiction is fiction – right? Not meant to be true or authobiographical. If I was writing a memoir, I’d bloody well say so and all of that. Then the pesky other hand – the writer is revealed in every word written. For the reader who wants to look with a discerning eye, an eye that goes beyond trying to make simplistic correlations (author = character x), we are there. Oh goodness, are we ever there. But what can you do? The story has its own imperative – it will not be denied.

  7. Sass Cadeaux says:

    I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

  8. Heather says:

    Ah, Gravelbourg Saskatchewan,,isn’t there a great French Catholic connection there….also a beautiful old church there I think.

    You say a story needs to be told. I like that comment. I also like to hear you say that, even though those who might not like the story….they are changed.

    Do you not see that as interesting from a writers point of view, as well as what you might see from a counselling point of view (which you have been involved with).

    A person in any kind of a counselling therapy situation might not like what they hear, but to be presented with an alternative thought to help the process of healing, also can change the person, if they haven’t heard it from that perspective.

    It appears to me that your fear or concern for “putting you novel out there”, and subsequently feeling like you are dealing with either failure or success, should be something that you embrace. You must be able to embrace the the challenge of either. You have to be confident in yourself, oherwise you would not risk the chance of failure.

    Hey. I have lots of thougths here on this post, but that is it for now.

    • I like the parallel you draw in this comment – as a writer, I am in a similar position to the reader who reads something they don’t like, or the person sitting across from the counsellor hearing something he or she didn’t want to hear. It is possible we all might be subjected to a perspective that shakes us up – but whether we like it or not, it will change us. We will learn from the experience.

      Ah, yes – Gravelbourg – a wonderful French Catholic connection. My great-grandfather (on my dad’s side) served as the maintenance man/gardener for that beautiful church in Gravelbourg for years and years. My great-uncle was a priest in the Gravelbourg diocese – he was actually in the seminary with Bishop Remi De Roo and they were good friends. So many connections in this world where we now and again tap into past lives – the people that we were and how that has led to who we are now.

  9. Jane Fritz says:

    I like both this post and the daily prompt! And the quote you start off with resonates in many domains, including teaching! I remember begone I gave my first class decades ago a neighbour who was a seasoned prof asking me if I was nervous. When I said I was he said that was a good sign; if you’re not nervous before a class you’re not really fully engaged. He was right!

    • I can certainly attest to having been fully engaged in the teaching arena – I was hands down shaking in my boots before walking in to stand in front of most classes. When you care passionately about what you’re doing, you get nervouse. There is a lot at stake. Hope your weather continues to improve over on that other coast 🙂

  10. abigler42 says:

    “Telling a story lets us pull the threads of our life backward in contemplation and then forward as we create new ways of being.” I think this is a really beautiful way to explain the need to share the stories within us. As you know, I can wholeheartedly relate to this post right now. What a horrifying and exciting process it is to share your work with others! I am happy you took this post out and shared it again!

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