Stories look at our fear of revealing self

February 13, 2016

I think I have written about this before but I will write about it again: sometimes it is very difficult to be totally accurate when writing an article. Because we are all human, including me, it can be just a matter of memory loss that makes a journalist err.

Or, it can be that you cannot completely grasp what the person, you are interviewing, is actually saying even when you ask more than once for clarification. You write down what you think the interviewee is saying and find out later that was not it.

Sometimes the person you are interviewing tells you something, you write about it, thinking there is absolutely nothing wrong with putting in down in the piece only to find out later that they either never thought you would actually quote him or her on what the person told you even though– duh– you were interviewing the person.

Or the interviewee regrets saying something, after the fact, and decides to turn on the journalist and use the scribe as a scapegoat.

I just quickly read the following article about my book Friends I Never Knew before deciding to post it on this blog. I saw things that I believe are inaccurate even though, in my opinion, it is a good .

See what you think:

Inner City Voice

July 1992

Stories look at our fear of revealing self

by Donne Flanagan

Four women’s stories told through the eyes of another woman who isn’t yet able to write her own story — is a brief description of inner city resident and writer Tanya Lester’s book  Friends I Never Knew.

Through her involvement in feminist organizations like the Manitoba Action Committee on the Status of Women, there were women Lester wished she had taken notes on and then written about.

Instead, the central character in Friends I Never Knew, Tara, takes on the task.

The four women written about in the book are not actual people, but characters based on composites and memories of Lester’s. Tara, however, is much like the writer, Lester says.

Writing others’ stories

Tara has to write down these women’s stories before she can write her own — an act she’s avoiding doing.

Through a series of workshops Lester organized for a seniors’ group — about writing from one’s own experiences– it occurred to her that people have trouble writing frankly and openly about their own lives.

“People are often scared to admit they’re victims. No so much victimes, maybe — but when we live in a sick society … we’re afraid to admit it affects us.”

“Thinking with our hearts has become very important for me.” Intellectualizing can make us do “shitty things to each other.”

But Lester says there is a reason for this. People are involved in politics for very personal reasons.

People involved in political movements are often more interested in fighting for the cause than establishing friendships with their allies….

It’s difficult enough being a writer, she says, “but for women, we’re expected to be the nurturers, too.”

Lester has received some financial help from her family, but living as a writer and raising a “precocious” preschooler “is definitely not easy.”

She came into an inheritance which she used to live for several months on the European island-country of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea.

There she concentrated on her writing and serious thoughts about have a child. “I came back four months pregnant and with the second draft of my book.

Many writers who start out make the mistake of making their writing “artsy,” she says.

“Where my (writing) voice comes from is where I grew up on the east side of Lake Winnipeg in a small community. And that scares me because my voice is not grammatical. It’s one that says ‘eh’ and all that stuff. And its says ‘stuff’ a lot.”

Intimidating art world

Growing up in a working class community, in a working class family often causes her to be intimidated by Winnipeg’s artistic circles.

“I go to the Winnipeg Art Gallery — and I like the WAG, I take my kid there — but I go to events there and I’m afraid of getting the white tablecloths dirty.”

But she admits to having an advantage on many people because she has a university education. But writing as a profession did not occur to her as even a possibility until her second year of university.

She says she is a writer because they are the philosophers of today. “No one else is reflecting on society.”

The personal reviews of the book have meant the most to her. “People coming up to me saying , ” ‘I stayed up all night reading it,’is very important to me.”….


Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader (it can be purchased from the author or perused or bought from, Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters and Women Rights/Writes.  These books are available in library systems and the last three are in the Legislative Library of Manitoba.

Other posts in Tanya’s blog can be read by going to and

Tanya is a psychic reader, a fulltime housesitter, a writer, a reik master and an art model. To arrange to purchase any of her services contact her directly at  or call 250-538-0086 or through her website: or Facebook, LinkedIn, Googler and Twitter.



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