“You have to name names!”
My 79 year-old father said this casually in my kitchen last week as he made eggplant parm. He had also just shared that he was 24 pages into his autobiography. Which, if we are counting, is 22 more pages than I have written.
His story, I know, is far more interesting. And I am rather confident that he will be published before I am. I was privy to many of his stories over the years at the dinner table and I would still pay to read them. We always egged him on, “Tell us the one where you had to go into the army!” He would laugh and say, “No, no…” and less than five minutes later he would launch into the story with a captivated audience. Every time he told these stories, I swear they got better and better. The man can tell a story.
For the past two years when drafting and outlining my own book and story, I have spent a great deal of time avoiding names. I have been writing around people in my past and this has proven to be nearly impossible. In trying to avoid the conflicts, I have sacrificed the story. I can’t tell the story without the back story…and in a way, that does name names.
We all have a unique story because of those that played a role along the way. The good and bad, although often the bad does make a more interesting story. The conflict and the difficult times have taught me the most and allowed me the greatest opportunity for growth and realization. Without those times, those names, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
“So you have to name names Dad?”
“Yeah…but just make sure they are all dead.”