09 May, 2010

Something I'm not going to say in workshop

This genre of story ("shit I've had to put up with thanks to my severely disabled sibling," as you put it) has a social context. You may just be writing how you feel, but my reaction is:

1. Does A. have the skills to write a story about the shit she's had to put up with thanks to you? About the things you will never do?

2. If A. needed help writing a story like that, do you think your family or the staff at school would be willing to help her? Do you think they would ever suggest that she write such a story?

3. If A. wrote a story like that, do you think people would read it and be sympathetic?

I'm pretty sure that the answer to all these questions is no. So I think that just writing how you feel isn't enough. I feel like if you're going to write something about A., you'd better make damn sure that you're being compassionate--really compassionate, compassionate to A. as an individual, not "she will never" compassionate which is not about A. at all.

You have a lot of power as someone who has the language skills to express yourself without help, and you have a lot of privilege as a person who is not disabled. With great power comes great responsibility.


  1. I love that Square 8 post on the "she will never" thing. My mom has told me, now that I'm in college, that she used to worry constantly about whether I would ever go to college (she also worried about whether I would ever drive a car, which I still can't do). I don't remember ever hearing any of these worries expressed, though. I mean, what a horrible thing to tell a child.