Alexis Wright: What Happens When You Tell Somebody Else’s Story?

[meanjin.com.au] Aboriginal people have not been in charge of the stories other people tell about us. The question then was, how should I be an Aboriginal writer when the stories that were being told nationally about us would shape and impact on what I can do as a writer? I wanted to explore what happened in our imagination and our creative efforts when we write under the cloud of those who fear us, and who instil their fear in us. Why do I write at all? And why do I write what I write? These are questions I wanted to explore while trying to create stories more authentically; and on the other hand I wondered, am I just telling stories I have been conditioned to tell by the stories other people tell about us? How would I free my mind to write differently?When it comes to how our stories are being told, supposedly on our behalf, or for our interest or supposed good, it has never been a level playing field. We do not get much of a chance to say what is right or wrong about the stories told on our behalf—which stories are told or how they are told. It just happens, and we try to deal with the fallout. I think we often feel it is pointless to take on the endless stream of other people’s points of view about us that comes through the media, or to make the effort any more to turn around each new and mostly negative storytelling trend. The truth is, we have simply become other people’s subject matter in the stories they tell, and pay the high price of their foolishly playing around with the Aboriginal sense of self, aimed at dismantling our knowledge and belief in our rights, to have us question our truths and our times.

Source: What Happens When You Tell Somebody Else’s Story?

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