I grew up watching telenovelas with my mother and sister. We would laugh, cry and immerse ourselves in the dreams of our heroine, while pining over the handsome love interest. The dramatic plots of the villain kept us on the edge of our seats, and left us anxious for the next episode. Despite our constant emotional rollercoaster, we were certain that our telenovelas would always give us our happy ending. We don’t sit down together anymore to watch a telenovela, but the love for dramatics is still there. I recently binged watched Jane the Virgin, and I was reminded of my dysfunctional, straight out of a telenovela family. The overly religious grandmother, the passionate mother, and the absent father. The character that I identified the most with was Jane Villanueva, our heroine. Like me she's a writer and loves with all her heart, but unlike me she has the courage to follow through with her emotions. As a writer she astonishes me, because she can dive into her writing without interruptions. Of course, she deals with blocks and insecurities, but she gets to the end of her stories. The best part of her writing is that she pulls from her own life, and those around her. Despite Jane's dedication to her stories there was a moment when her grandmother was horrified by the things she shared about her past in her novel.
Spoiler: Jane's grandmother ended up giving her permission to use her life experiences in her story. Despite the happy outcome I was shocked that Jane would take her grandmother seriously when she initially demanded that Jane removed her for her novel. After all Jane wrote a fiction novel and fictionalized the details of her grandmother's story. At what point did Jane's grandmother's story stopped being her story? Does the writer hold any ownership over her words, when plot lines are taken from life experiences? As a fiction and non-fiction writer I am concerned about what my own family would think of my stories. I see my creative, non-fiction writing as my own story. I write my truth without reservation, but I write with the understanding that my family would never read my words. I know that my mother would be hurt and horrified by the conversations of the absent father she thinks she erased. My half-siblings would hate my words on principle. The others wouldn't have any idea what to say. It gets to the point where you have to make the choices that you can live with. I wouldn't waver like Jane. I will continue writing my truth, and deal with the family when that moment comes.
What would you do with your story?