“Can we discuss how to deal with the painful personal experiences presented in these essays?” Tim interjects during my lecture after the short break in our three-hour class on “Teaching Second Language Writing” one evening. It is obvious that some students had discussed this need during the break. I had seen small groups of students engrossed in a conversation in the corridor in hushed voices. There was an uncomfortable silence after Tim’s question, as if no one was sure whether personal issues were an appropriate subject in an academic course. I had avoided addressing the traumatic experiences some students were narrating in their literacy autobiographies. I found it convenient to focus on issues of thematic coherence, rhetorical effectiveness, and genre conventions and avoided a discussion of the personal. To break the silence, Tim clarified almost in apology: “Some narratives are so traumatic that we don’t know how to respond to them.” The class had just peer-reviewed a draft by Ruth. She had started her university education as a highly motivated music student, when she found one day that she couldn’t practice her piano for more than a short time. A diagnosis revealed that she had muscle damage that was going to be permanent. Devastated, she changed to majoring in French and teaching English as a second language and undertook a study abroad in France. She developed a new identity and vision for her future. In the previous class, we had discussed Kyoko’s draft on growing up in Japan as a “middle child” among brothers who were always given preferential treatment. This made her seek refuge in expressive and imaginative writing, developing an alternate identity for herself. For some others, navigating countries, cultures, and institutions to develop their multilingual writing proficiencies had turned out to be disorienting. As we proceeded to discuss these charged narratives, we gradually realized that this genre of writing was making us vulnerable, transparent, and intimate, crossing the lines of typical classroom writing.