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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 we are.” 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 different experiences.” 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 publisher. “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,” she said. 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 february/march 2019 57