“There are stories inside of me, hardened into tight little knots. Call them anything: Sanskrit samskaras, disturbances in the field, sediment scraped from the depths. They are at the core of all the other stories that are easier to tell.”
Though I don’t know why, it’s usually Spring that renews my spiritual quest, so it’s fitting that I am reading a book by Dani Shapiro titled Devotion: A Memoir. This book will lead me into my annual journey. As I prefer to savor this one, I’ve read only up to page 35, yet this beautifully written work has brought me to tears more than once.
I’ve not cried because of what she wrote so much as for the memories her words evoke. In the cover blurbs, her book is described as “wry” and “funny” so it’s not meant to depress, though I doubt anyone could read it and not find it’s relation to events of their own life.
I applaud Shapiro’s courage, her honesty, in writing such a memoir and appreciate writers like her who share their stories to make me feel as though she has told some of my own for me. I could not—nor, I suspect, will I ever be able to—do that. At this point, I cannot separate my story from those of others in my life, and I don’t feel I have the right to tell anyone else’s story. The best I can do is write fiction, and hope that bits of the “tight little knots” inside me work themselves loose.
I also have to thank Cynthia Newberry Martin whose beautiful post on this book made me want to read it, when you go there be sure to click to watch Dani’s book trailer.
[tweetmeme source=”cassidylewis” only_single=false]
10 thoughts on “Untying the knots”
This is a beautiful post as well, Linda. So glad you like the book.
Thank you, Cynthia. I’ve been reading a library copy of this book, but I’ve decided to buy my own. That’s high praise from me. 🙂
I love that description of the stories and the word — samskara, and the releasing of stories knotted in the jaw, the hips, etc.
Those knots do work themselves loose in fiction as they do in practicing yoga.
I hope so, Cathryn.
I’m always glad to hear of a good memoir. I never used to be interested. Then I read DON’T LETS GO TO THE DOGS TONIGHT. What a book; what a memoir and what telling of some things so foreign to me, to us. I have since gone on a memoir-reading tear and am always glad to hear of them. Thanks for this.
As for working out the knots, oh yes, do use your fiction to write and not feel anyone is looking over your shoulder or worrying about who’s story is whose. Let it wash over you and write it. Cathryn’s comment above about loosening knowts in fiction writing as in yoga is so good, so right on.
I hope you enjoy the book.
I’ve read Anne Lamott’s advice to “write like your parents are dead” but that’s hard to do … even in my fiction.
I am not certain that I have ever read a memoir…how odd.
Very touching post Linda.
I rarely read them, Jennifer, but after Cynthia’s post, I couldn’t resist this one. I’m glad I didn’t.
With your lovely post, and Cynthia’s lovely post, and Dani’s lovely book trailer, this book is now on my reading list.
I know what you mean about the difficulty in separating your own life from others in trying to tell your life story.
As usual, thought-provoking post. Thanks.
I hope you enjoy reading it, Natasha.
Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone on the separation problem. Maybe after I write enough fiction, I’ll be able to slip in the non-fiction and no one will notice.