“Writing from the scar, not the wound”

I had my first day of Disquiet Literary Programs workshop yesterday.  We discussed pieces by two authors which were both vulnerable, stories you don’t often hear, and had strong voices.  One of the issues that came up there, and in other creative nonfiction classes and workshops I’ve taken, is the question of writing trauma.  I was discussing this with someone who’s taking the fiction track and they said they thought it was true with fiction as well.  This is an interesting concern and one I’ve been exploring.  Last August I went to my first ever Hippocampus and attended a lecture by Reema Zaman called the The Art of Radical Vulnerability which addressed the topic of writing about trauma.  Her focus was how to “write from the scar, not the wound.”  How not to retraumatize yourself and traumatize your reader in the process of telling your story.  I walked away with a mental checklist for myself when writing about less than happy experiences and it’s been helpful for me.  I can see where in fiction it would be useful as well, especially since a lot of people use guise of fiction to tell their own story.  I know I do.

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