Conversations about secrets and story-telling

First there was the silence, The years and years of silence. Then slowly there were a few stories. I let it slip that my entire alternative school use to go skinny dipping together. That I used to be some kind of radical.  That I was writing a book. Then finally there was the book. Red Star Tattoo. And now, as though to make up for those years of silence there are so many conversations. Conversations about secrets and story telling, revolution and resilience, getting through and moving on.

This has been a busy month for talking, and I’m so grateful to all the smart and insightful people I got to chat with.  The further I go into this process the more I see what interests me not only in my life but everyone’s life is how people find the balance between their strength and their weakness, and how so often these spring from the same source. I touched on this in my conversation with Sheryl Mackay on North by Northwest, and how challenging it can be to offer support to young people used to surviving without it. Helping someone accept tenderness when they equate this with weakness. Letting them be a child while acknowledging all the ways they’ve had to be an adult. The show is schedule to air in the weekend or so I will update the link to this when the online version is available.

It was fun  swapping some dysfunctional family stories with Emelia Syminton-Fedy on Trying to be Good []. I have a feeling we could have gone on for quite a while! It was fascinating to talk about the exhilaration of ‘freedom’ in our hippy childhoods — running around wild with no rules — and yet the deep anxiety this can trigger. Some of her questions  — who tucked you in at night? what are you best at? — have haunted me for days.

My conversation with Joseph Planta of The Commentary { ]was wide-ranging and thought-provoking. His questions about trust made me realize I never ask myself how much I trust a person, only how well I understand them.  After the interview he shared with me one of his favourite passages from the book:

I don’t know how to change the world. I don’t know if it can be changed the way I tried. But people’s worlds change sometimes. I express this belief in the most banal of ways: remembering a name, finding a pencil, asking if everything is okay, even though I know that being asked is not the same as being brave enough to tell.

I am still, even after all this time, learning how to be brave enough to tell.

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