I read my rape memoir to a group of writers.
One writer said, but you seem so feisty and brave, hard to imagine
Another said, it seems odd that you cared about what your parents found out
A third said, but you were telling people you believed in free love.
Like it wasn’t real.
The next month I read the group a story about my affair.
One writer said, you didn’t seem to enjoy the sex very much
And encouraged me to add some positive remarks
Another commented that I did not come across as a very nice person.
Because of this feedback
I have advice for critics who may read about the intimate details
Of a person’s history in the course of a workshop:
Stay away from moral judgments
Or personality analysis.
Stick to literary merit.