We live the stories we tell (Mark Doty)

“What we remember, wrote the poet who was my first teacher of the art, can be changed. What we forget we are always. Dick was right: We live the stories we tell; the stories we don’t tell live us. What you don’t allow yourself to know controls and determines; whatever’s held to the light “can be changed”—not the facts, of course, but how we understand them, how we live with them. Everyone will be filled by grief, distorted by sorrow; that’s the nature of being a daughter or a son, as our parents are also. What matters is what we learn to make of what happens to us. And we learn to make, I think, by telling. Held to the light of common scrutiny, nothing’s ever quite as unique as our shame and sorrow would have us think. But if you don’t say it, you’re alone with it, and the singularity of your story seems immense, intractable.” – Mark Doty, Firebird

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