the story of my life

I told him the story of my life, most of it, a version of it, and he told me his, and in the telling both storytellers came to believe that their stories were true. I’m the person I’m describing, I thought, I really am! I knew that I was editing the story as I told it, but not to hide anything or to protect myself – I believed that I wanted Woodrow to know everything about me, no lies and no secrets that mattered. But I was telling my story to a man, not another woman, and therefore edited it accordingly. And I was revealing what I knew of myself to a black African, not a white American. .. and not to a neo-Marxist fugitive under indictment by her own government for acts of civil disobedience and suspicion of terrorism. I had no choice but to alter, delete, revise, and invent whole chapters of my story. Just as, for the same reasons, I am doing here, telling it to you.                     Russell Banks The Darling

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