I’m thinking about boundaries today, as I contemplate what to write. In so many ways, participating in a challenge like the Slice of Life Story Challenge—crafting a narrative piece of writing that reveals a slice of your life every day for 31 days—requires a writer to be open. To expose. To be vulnerable enough to lay yourself bare on the page. 

And yet. . . 

As the writer, you have so much control. You decide which slices of life make it to the page and which live in your notebook (or your head). You control the psychic distance, either letting the reader all the way in, holding the reader at arm’s length, or something in between. 

(My choice to float in and out of second person point of view today is no accident.) 

As the writer, you decide where to be transparent and where to plant breadcrumbs that will never be explained. 

And yet. . . 

A savvy reader can see through and around such craft-complicit boundaries.

A savvy writer knows (and expects) it. 

Today I wonder what the white space around the stories I choose to share might say about me.

Every day in the month of March I’m blogging with the team at Two Writing Teachers Blog as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge. Join us!


  1. Lainie Levin

    “My choice to float in and out of second person point of view today is no accident.”…some might say *every* choice you have as an author is no accident.

    Amy, this is a beautiful piece of writing. And you’re right – we’re in the strange position of choosing how to portray ourselves out in this world, what we choose to relay of our story. But now that you have me thinking, I guess that’s always how it is, isn’t it? This “white space” we create in our stories – no matter how complete we think we tell it – it’s always there.

    Thanks for this thoughtful post today.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. glenda funk

    Amy, I feel as though we’re sharing one mind as I read this. I always think about the space, the public place, the filters I and others use. It’s a balancing act to be both open and honest and guarded and careful. I prefer the less is more. Maureen Ingram mentioned in her post today thinking about whose story she’s telling. This is something Beth Kephart speaks and writes about in teaching memoir. We each have a right up tell our story only. You have channeled thoughts I’ve nursed this month. In journalism I learned about trapped white space and think about those white spaces as vessels in a blog post. I love your post. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amy Ellerman

      I hadn’t thought about that, but you’re exactly right. I think because I’m a private person I default to not bringing in the stories of others. And. . . the people in our lives are part of our stories, so it’s tricky. Over filter, and our stories lack heart and authenticity.


  3. carwilc

    I think often about the stories I am telling, especially if they involve other people. I don’t care if people know about me, but I suspect my sons feel differently. I am careful not to use students or colleagues’ names, but people who know me well, probably know who I am talking about. A lot to think about in this post…Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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