Oprah said it last week on the Golden Globes. She wants you to be “speaking your truth.” She said she’s “especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories.”
Was she talking to you? It felt like she was talking to me.
What does it mean to be “speaking your truth?”
So many of us want to get our stories out there. I’m not just talking about the #MeToo movement. I’m not just talking about women. We are storytellers who write memoir and personal essay. Our subject is food, but that doesn’t make our story any less impactful. We know that food is a vehicle for writing about what matters: love, acceptance, identity, and power, for example. Food gives us a way in, to talk about the hard stuff.
Writing the hard stuff takes courage. As John Birdsall says in his interview below, “Memoir has to risk something.” So if you’ve been working on something scary, something that you feel you have to say anyway but that makes your chest hurt, Oprah’s telling you to go for it.
Sometimes that might mean writing about family or a memory, or a dish. It sounds like nothing but it isn’t. There are powerful ways to tell stories through food. But the first step is to get the words down, despite the fear.
Keep in mind that Oprah has interviewed hundreds of people about their stories. Do you remember how inspirational those stories were? How many people in the audience cried? So she knows. And she understands how hard it is to come forward.
Maybe you’re ready. Are you feeling strong and empowered? Or just brave. Will 2018 be the year you are “speaking your truth?”
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- Q&A: David Leite on Food, Mental Illness and Coming Out
- “Memoir Has to Risk Something,” says John Birdsall
- Molly Wizenberg: “Let Your Writing Speak for Itself, and Be Proud of It”
- Freelance Writers Workshop: Submitting Personal Essays