WHO AM I TO WRITE? I AM I
"This, I believe, is what personal narrative has the potential to do: to counter those dangerously simplistic and alienating reports by bringing people into the fold, into presence. Providing a conduit of access: 'being there' rather than 'knowing what happened'.
I am thinking, now, about some of the ways in which personal narrative can do this. And I think the main thing is for the writer to go in blind: the fewer the intentions and preconceptions, the impositions of the mind — how you wish yourself or the events you are narrating to be perceived — the slimmer, perhaps, the chances of manipulation.
The second is to ground oneself in the details: lived, felt, sensed. The peripheral can be just as imporant as the seeming 'focus'. Revolution is this, too, it's the sweet-potato cart and the girl with the red fingernails. Simply to go in alert, blind, and sniff out the details that feel the most pressing. And not to attempt to explain them too much, trusting that the details will tell their own stories, form their own patterns and imprints. To approach it all with a quizzical and enquiring mind, a puzzling-over. To include your questions, like spaces, like a breathing dough.
And in all this, one must embrace one's deepest subjectivity. (Who am I to write about this? I am I.) This, I believe, is true of all writing: by moving with some measure of faith through the labyrinth of your own self, you might find that you arrive at a place shared by many - an underground of human experience."
— Wiam El-Tamami, "A wish not to betray:
Some thoughts on writing and translation revolution,"