at Gavilan College, where she has
taught an adult education memoir
writing class for about two years, the
importance of telling one’s story.
“I think there is lot of value in
sharing the truth of our experiences.
And I think that there’s truth in the
lowercase “t” with facts and data, and
in the uppercase “T,” which is our
truth. Our experience and perspective
of the world. The thing that we have
gone through and make us who
With social media, she said it’s easy
to compare our insides with someone’s
else’s shiny, procured outside.
“We all wear all masks. We all
have to wear them to make our way
in society. We turn to literature to
compare our ugly insides with others’
beautiful and ugly insides of others,”
she said. “We don’t want to read books
that are fake. We want to read books
that are real. There will be something
that connects even though we have
While writing her memoir,
Gelsinger said she began to uncover
and make sense of reoccurring themes
in her life and as well as the pain
that arose in her experiences with the
church. She said through writing, she
was able to let go of any residual guilt
and anxiety she felt, and was able to
“own” her story and her role in it.
“These fears we have about telling
the truth that keep us in silence stop
us from doing important things,” she
said. “And if you’re not going to do
this important thing - and it doesn’t
have to be writing a book - if you don’t
do this thing, it will crop up in your
life in other ways.”
Gelsinger said her book was side-
lined for a year after she was unable
to find a literary agent or a traditional
“Then when I had the opportunity
to publish it a few years later, I knew it
was the right thing.”
Her book has drawn mixed
responses from people who also were
involved in the Pentecostal church.
She said she has learned that it’s not
her job to make others understand her
experience, but rather to be honest
about what happened.
Ultimately, she said most readers
tell her they have found something to
relate to in the book.
“I feel like (my book) has this
magical quality where people want
to hear what they needed to hear,”
Writing a novel, Gelsinger said, will
be her next project.
“I did some really brave things this
year, and I’m glad it’s over,” she laughs.
“And I feel stronger for it.”
Carly Gelsinger owns Carly
Gelsinger Creative Services, which
provides help to writers working on
a manuscript and editing services
for completed writing projects.
GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN