"Year of the Adopted Family" book release

Friday, January 2, 2009

Self-Censorship: When it is Dangerous to the Art

For almost every word that left my mouth, a grimace or an inner groan told me, "That was the wrong word choice" or "You can do better than this!"

As I told about 20 minutes of "The Gardener's Wife", it seemed that I had ordered an extra large delivery of butterflies-in-the-stomach. Holly Robison, my story buddy, sensed my frustration and reminded me that I could make mistakes in front of her.

I glanced at the timing on the mp3 recorder. I had barely gotten to the part in the story when the Wife adopts the first child. There were two more children to be adopted, and there was the quest for each of the children. I had expected this Colombian story to take about 40 minutes to tell. At this rate, it would take an hour!

Then I stopped. The story was not done but I stopped.

I wanted perfection and forgot that this meeting was called a "practice". My desire to be flawless could only mean disaster. The self-censorship would hinder my creative process (compare to previous post for "Forsaken Brother").

For several weeks, I had "played" with this story by looking into character personalities, envisioning the scenery, and other techniques.

Today the "fun" was gone.

I deeply wanted to share the story for the premiere, but I recognized that today was not my day to pursue it.

Holly comforted me and said the story would come together in time.

We did not discuss too much of what I needed to improve, as my self-censorship already gave me a long list of "to do"s. However, we did agree that I spent too much time with the two oldest sisters, who were minor characters in the story.

On the way home, I realized why I did not feel prepared to share the story the whole way through: the French Scenes had not been completed (see previous post on this story's French Scenes so far).

I determined to work on the French Scenes so to be more ready next time. The scenes could give structure to an otherwise chaotic story. Then I could "play" and enjoy the story for the following practice with Holly Robison.

I am thankful for Holly's patience with me.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Professional Storyteller
Former Co-Chair of Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance (2005-2008)
Tel: (801) 870-5799
Email: info@rachelhedman.com
Performance Blog: http://familyfamine.blogspot.com
Other places to find me: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Professional Storyteller

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