When Relatives Say, “Don’t Write About Me!” By Karen Carver

When Relatives Say, “Don’t Write About Me!” By Karen Carver

Through the years, I’ve heard too often from people that I should write my own story about all the events that have happened in my life. Of course the people who know some of these aspects are family, friends and coworkers. But if I do what everyone requests, it’s going to be a story with huge chunks missing or, at the very least, people important to those chunks.

Whenever I mention I’m working on a certain period, the person involved in it with me is always excited–until they realize they might get mentioned in the story too. Then a slow realization spreads over their face, almost like a dawning storm, as they visualize reading about themselves and any possible points about them that might not be one of perfection. But even those who have no reason to worry about anything less than a stellar mention still worry that someone else might not see it the same way.

Thus, what I usually hear from my friends and relatives is that I should definitely write “my” story, but each will follow that with a resounding, “Don’t write about *me*!” But since these stories and people are connected to one another, at least it makes sense when they say they don’t want to be written about. There are other more confusing and eye-rolling instances of total narcissism.

I mentioned to one close relative once that I was going to write a letter of complaint to a retired baseball star living in our area. About once a year he has an autograph session for kids. Unfortunately he only does it for a couple of hours, never leaving time for all the kids to get the autograph after standing in line for hours. As a result my daughter missed out that year. I told my relative I was going to write how disappointed she was. What was my relative’s response? “Well, don’t write about *me*!”

I asked this relative why in the world I would write about *her* in a letter of complaint for my daughter to someone else? This letter had nothing to do with this relative and I had no intention of her being mentioned. She kind of stumbled and stuttered, and finally admitted she could see no reason why I’d be writing about her in this instance. To give her credit, she hasn’t made that statement again in the last few years, even though previously she used to say it quite often whenever I’d mention I was getting ready to write.

But what about everyone else? How on earth do you go about writing certain parts of your life while leaving out key people? You can always get signed releases, but that just makes them suspicious that you *must* be planning to put them in a terrible light!

At the same time, I’m always somewhat surprised when so many people assume they’ll be written about at all, before they say, “Don’t write about *me *!” Considering how my story would have to be condensed, it’s a wonder that any but a select few could be mentioned anyway. I’m somewhat curious about how they could be so certain that they might be worthy of writing about in the first place. That the world should be so centered on them.

Now that’s something I’d find interesting to write about them!


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Karen Carver rediscovered writing after being laid off work in 1999. She now writes short stories and novels. Three books?two fiction and one memoir?are in the works. In her spare time she sculpts fun stuff to sell on eBay. Visit her site at https://www.kansonianpearls.com.