The Teller

Our lives are as a tale yet untold, so someone said.
There is a story behind every storyteller, so they say.

I am a storyteller . . . so I took that little word teller and expanded it as a way to share more about me and the book I just released.

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My use of the word teller is not entirely original. I came across the first three (the teller, the told, the telling) in The Handbook of Ethnography while researching research methods for my dissertation. They caught my attention, and when that happens, I either copy the pages or take notes on the material with the reference so I can get back to it. Sometime later, I added three more words (the retold, the untold, and the foretold) to complete what I thought would be an interesting way to share more about me and my work.

The Teller
(About the Author)

I am in what one Harvard professor calls the “third chapter” of my life—the time in which you assess where you are and compare it to where you would like to be. A decade or so ago, I took that step of assessment, and here I am—doing what I love: writing and publishing.

Last week, as I was working on the draft of my next book (The Fourth Voice: Exploring Identity Theft of Another Kind), I made an autobiographical list of the parts that are the whole of a person, thinking that I would assign a fictitious book title to each one as a way to introduce myself quickly, transparently, vulnerably, and creatively. I titled that list—“The Layers of Life.”

Physical

Emotional

Spiritual

Relational

Educational

Professional

Recreational

Intellectual

The image I see consists of layers of transparent paint on rough watercolor paper, the varied aspects of my life—melded together to form the impression that is me. You can almost see through those layers to what is below and above, but you cannot completely segregate them for a unique or specific investigation. For, you see, each has altered the others, resulting in a new whole. I’m still thinking about those book titles, and if that idea surfaces, I will share it in another Morning Page.

The Told
(About the Book)

The book, The Impostor Affect: A Closer Look by a Classic Case, is a combination of the research I found on the impostor phenomenon and my life experiences that mirror it. In a flash of insight, I applied this quote to my project early on: “Universal principles are only understandable in light of particular cases” (Schwandt). The underlying principles of the impostor phenomenon may not be “universal,” but they are most certainly widespread, and I am most certainly a particular case, self-identified as a classic case.

The Telling
(About the Approach to Writing)

I believe I have walked the life of an “impostor” for a reason, which allows me to write with purpose. I have chosen to be personally honest, painfully transparent, and genuine. Simply stated, I write from the heart because I know the pain; I write from the intellect because I have done the research; I can write from the spirit because I know my Maker.

I have used the research to better understand what I think I know about the memories I have, and then I share that enhanced understanding with my readers. Robert Nash, in his book on scholarly personal narrative, says that it is not so much about what happened to me, but what I make of what happened to me. I created profiles for two “ideal readers” and named them Ida and Ira. When I write, I have them in mind—trying to connect with their lives through mine.

The Retold
(The Source for My Story)

Memories are a funny thing. While writing about mine, I was aware that I was attaching words that I have now to events that surfaced from way back when. As I read the research on the impostor, I took note of the memories that flitted up through the filter of my new awareness. I re-remembered them and felt the pain as I did so. Then I wrote vignettes—slices of my life—for each of the four parts of my book:  the impostor child, the impostor teen, the impostor adult, and the flourishing impostor.

The Untold
(What Isn’t There)

Certainly, there are aspects of my life that I will never write about. Some of them are just plain boring—some are too ordinary, some are too personal, and others would be too painful for others who were involved. And some things I just don’t know enough about yet to put into words. What is untold today may very well be told tomorrow.

(A secret I will share: I am thinking about writing a novel titled The Writer’s Room in which I will feel free to share some of my “untolds” as I mix them in among the fiction that I create so that no one will know which is which.)

The Foretold
(A Look Ahead)

I am at present writing the next book in the impostor series. I am posing some questions that surfaced in my own mind during the research on the impostor and sharing some answers that are finding their way onto my desk. I am considering the fact that my identity was stolen along my life’s journey, and I have set out to discover how I can get it back—to finally meet the me that I really am.

It is my hope that by sharing my questions and then my discoveries, my readers will be inspired to ask their own questions and seek their own answers as to who they really are.

Final Word

Yes, I have a few writing projects going on at the same time. And, yes, I am working on several projects for other authors. I will quote myself from a previous and unpublished morning page:

“I am a busy woman if I choose to be; otherwise I am just another dreamer.”