Should I Honor Their Privacy or Break the Silence by Publishing My Memoir?

About Should I Honor Their Privacy or Break the Silence by Publishing My Memoir?

What if you believed breaking the silence by publishing your memoir would heal you, but family members wanted you to keep certain stories private? Could you find a way to respect their wishes while honoring your truth? In this episode, I am joined by Stephanie Shafran, a writer who’s spent a lifetime being silenced and is now experiencing just this situation. We talk about writing what you need to write, deciding whether to publish, and respecting a family member’s need for privacy while still expressing yourself.



Transcript for Should I Honor Their Privacy or Break the Silence by Publishing My Memoir?

Welcome to the third episode in my season of Summer Shorts, a series of shorter episodes where you’ll hear from writers working in the trenches right alongside you. Each week they’ll share their fears, doubts, and questions they have about the craft of writing and the writing life. Consider it your backstage pass to my coaching practice.

This week, you’ll hear from Stephanie Shafran, a poet, memoirist, and former school counselor who’s working on a memoir about finding her voice and speaking her truth. During this episode, we explore one of memoir’s greatest challenges: the conflict between owning and sharing our truth, and respecting family members’ wishes.

Before we get to our conversation, I have a few questions for you. Do you have a history of being silenced? How does that influence the way you see your memoir? Have family members or others who play a role in your book asked not to be in it? What struggles do you face as you consider what to do? I hope you’ll ponder these questions as you listen along. Now, let’s get to my conversation with Stephanie Shafran.

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Show Notes for Should I Honor Their Privacy or Break the Silence by Publishing My Memoir?

Have you ever felt the need to write your story and share it with others? What if you believed breaking the silence would heal you, but family members want  you to keep certain stories private? Could you find a way to respect their wishes while honoring your truth?  

In this episode, I am joined by Stephanie Shafran, a writer who’s spent a lifetime being silenced and is now experiencing just this situation. We talk about writing what you need to write, deciding whether to publish, and respecting a family member’s need for privacy while still expressing yourself. 

Stephanie’s Bio: Stephanie Shafran’s poetry chapbook Awakening was released in 2020. Stephanie contributed to the 2021 anthology, A 21st Century Plague: Pandemic Poetry, edited by Elayne Clift. A member of Straw Dog Writers Guild and Florence Poetry Society, Stephanie resides in Northampton, Massachusetts. You can read her monthly blog posts at stephanieshafran.com. In 2017, Stephanie retired from a teaching and counseling career. Her degrees include a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Smith College, Master in the Art of Teaching from the University of Vermont, and Master of Counseling Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Resources Mentioned During This Episode:

Episode Highlights

  • 2:50 Discovering You’re Not the Main Character
  • 4:04 Disenfranchised Grief
  • 7:00 Navigating Other’s Privacy with Our Need to Speak the Truth
  • 13:40 Identifying Your Audience
  • 17:00 Deciding to Publish or Not
  • 23:09 Stephanie’s Best Writing Advice

Connect with Stephanie

Connect with your host, Lisa:

Get Your Free Copy of Write More, Fret Less: https://lisacooperellison.com/newsletter-subscribe/

Sign up for Camp Structure:  https://lisacooperellison.com/camp-structure-find-your-memoirs-narrative-arc/

Produced by Espresso Podcast Production: https://www.espressopodcastproduction.com



About Your Host

Lisa Cooper Ellison is an author, speaker, trauma-informed writing coach, and host of the Writing Your Resilience podcast. She works and writes at the intersection of storytelling and healing, and combines her personal experiences with suicide loss and CPTSD with her clinical training to help writers turn tough experiences into art. Her essays and stories have appeared on Risk! and in The New York TimesHuffPostHippocampus Literary Magazine, and Kenyon Review Online, among others


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