This week, Judith Felsenfeld, the author of Blaustein’s Kiss blogs for The Postscript on the reaction of some friends and family to her work of fiction.
A couple of days after Blaustein’s Kiss, my collection ofshort fiction, is published, my cousin Roz phones to sayhow much she loves the book but — miniscule correction— the ‘shayna kupp’ issue came up around Thanksgiving,not a Seder.On Facebook, a former roommate posts that hermemories of the years she and I hung out together differsubstantially from mine. She unfriends me.In an e‑mail, Aunt Flo, who moved to Oaxaca in 1985and is not often in touch, calls the book a fabulous readand expresses her gratitude that finally someoneunderstands where she’s coming from, family-wise.My niece shoots me an e‑mail: Really enjoyed yourstories. Quick fact check — Mom was no longer playingthe cello when Dad passed away. She had given it upseveral years before, due to lower back issues.
Why is it, I wonder, that these friends and familymembers assumed I was writing about them? Why arepeople driven to insert themselves into works of fiction,particularly the fiction of someone close to them? Is it akind of hubris, validation? There I am in black and whiteon the page, therefore I exist?