Narratives of Emotional Truth

Narratives of Emotional Truth

Jennifer Lynne Bird (Oxbridge Academy, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1931-8.ch004
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This narrative uses a multigenre format to discuss the writing theory of emotional truth, where writers share truth as they remember it. Factual truth focuses on facts, while emotional truth focuses on the emotions associated with a memory. The example provided uses health coaching, an addition to the medical field that encourages patients to share their stories and set goals for themselves in addition to the goals set for them by their medical team. Fictional elements combine with research in creative nonfiction.
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End Notes For “Memories Of Marilyn”

The previous scene you just read was a work of fiction based on fact. That scene happened before I was born, so of course I did not witness my mom Marilyn helping patients. I heard the story from her when I was a kid, and as I was getting ready to begin my health coach training I discovered an article my dad wrote about my mom’s heroism. Finding that article served as an affirmation that I was on the right path in my life.

Writing about emotional truth can heal people. I first explored multigenre writing as healing when I wrote my doctoral dissertation and used a fictional character to share factual information. I created a character named Jenna Kepler, who was a thinly disguised variation of me, and sent her into horrific circumstances worse than my reality in order to process some of the events in my life. I used emotional truth to capture the essence of an issue while freeing myself from being obligated to remember every single factual detail. Writing Jenna Kepler’s story helped me heal. That’s the real truth.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Story-Truth and Happening-Truth: Happening-truth is an objective factual account of events which occurred. Story-truth, sometimes referred to as emotional truth, is a subjective reflection of a person’s thoughts and feelings about the same event when retelling that story. Writers such as Tim O’Brien, Natalie Goldberg, and Anne Lamott believe in the power of emotional truth that enables writers to switch back and forth from objective observations to subjective emotions when sharing a story.

Writing Voice: Voice in writing describes how a writer uses word choice and tone to compose a journal entry or other written composition that reflects the personality of the writer. Just like each person has a unique speaking voice, each writer has a unique writing voice.

Journal Writing: The process of a person responding to prompts and writing about his or her thoughts and feelings. While journal writing is typically associated with writing classrooms, writing teachers including Julia Cameron, Natalie Goldberg, and Donald Murray advocate that journal writing can be done by anyone, anywhere. Students in an English classroom, patients in a physical therapy clinic, and readers of this chapter in their living rooms can pick up pen, paper, and just write.

Multigenre Writing: Discussed in the field of education by Tom Romano, a multigenre paper consists of two parts: creative writing in multiple genres and the writer’s analysis of the genres.

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