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To my writer friends…below are musings on impossible stories, those moments that demand language, sensations that pour from us. What makes a story untell-able? As the lines between reality and fiction blur, I have to ask, at what point does a life, a loss, become off-limits? What are the stories that you cannot write? that you cannot share? Where is the line? If there is a line, should there be?


I have a story to tell.

I wrote it in a fury at 2:00AM.

It’s a true story – a memory. It slips into fiction, finds and expands its own metaphors, creates characters, explores plot lines, finds objects and colors to paint with.

It’s the best bit of language I’ve created in months.

It’s a story that needs to be told.

And it’s a story that I cannot publish…

I’ll carry her with me. She will be in every story, every character, every movement. A ghost-language, haunting each page, empty words, filled with empty sounds, shared – we create; we destroy.

Life happens or it doesn’t.

It’s simple.

To create; to lose.

Then deny, deny, deny, every reality, the moment it broke, shed its possibility, and exposed itself.

A dark spot between my legs.

Pour out of me.

All the words I cannot speak – they are not mine.

I have a story to tell that I cannot tell.

I need my girl.

All her fictions; now, she can be anything.

But why…can’t I tell her, narrate her. Why must I mask pain with metaphor? Loss with allusion? Pain with poetry?

I carry her – sounds, colors, textures – but I cannot share her.

I cannot write her death, I cannot write the room, metal forceps, sterile gloves.

There are very few things in our world that are un-mentioned, few necessary secrets.

I am a liar, then. Creating fantasies to protect unnecessary secrets, the blood on the bed,

The sheets they will throw away.

Why do I believe in silence?

In a world of men, the losses within my flesh are not polite conversation.

Nearly 40% of women will lose her, name her, and carry her ghost.

Where are they? False smiles, crossed legs.

You did nothing wrong…men say, and yet…

Silence. Banished forums and women’s groups. Hushed tones.

Why are there some stories that cannot be told?

I can narrate war; I can steal words, over heard conversations; I can create life from nothing, imagine possibility, destroy it, rebuild it. I can narrate genocide, anti-heroes, and lost love.

But I cannot write this.

I cannot find the line…that line…

I drink too much. I take another pill.

I feel empty, less than complete, which irritates me. I take to reading “The Bell Jar,” and Adrienne Rich. I remind myself of my worth which exists beyond procreation. My ability to create life is a part of me, but it is not all that I am. And, I think, I can create life in other ways, with words, with conversations, with lectures and lesson plans, with stories and poetry.

The words come easily, a pouring out. Emptiness is best expressed through the shell of language. I associate creativity with loss, genius with guilt, writing with unauthorized pain. I write stories that I will never publish.

I have a bottle to go through before the week is out. I wonder how I’ll sleep when it’s gone.

The line…where is it…the stories that belong to me, the stories that bury what I cannot create, what I cannot mask through the broken rhymes of language.

Someone once told a story – her family disowned her.

She used it as a lesson in a writing workshop – something about cost, a responsibility to a reader and to the ghosts that swell within us.

I drink too much. I take another pill.

I have a story to tell that I cannot tell; it does not belong to me.