“I know that I put words in the mouths of people who did not speak them,” she wrote in her 1998 essay collection. “I imagine scenes at which I was not present. I know that this is my world and no one else’s — my stories, my history.”From the obituary for Ellen Douglas who died November 7. I am not familiar with her work but I recognize the truth in her words. Although she was speaking about fiction, all writers, even nonfiction writers, tell a unique story, one that only they can tell. Others may write about the same topic but each writes from a different perspective. The stories are their own, informed by their own experience and research.
That explains why I write about hiking the Appalachian Trail when so many others have done so. No one else can tell my story.