What if you wrote a memoir?

October 8, 2008 at 7:30 pm | Posted in Storytelling | 4 Comments
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Memoirs are sizzling hot in the book world just now, and I’ve been devouring them! Real life stories often have the capacity to inspire, encourage, entertain, amaze, and move us even more dramatically than fiction. In the last few months I’ve read:

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou) – The first 11 calamitous years in the well-known poet/activist’s life.

The Glass Castle (Jeannette Walls) – A news journalist’s growing-up years in the midst of extreme poverty and neglect.

Left to Tell (Immaculee Ilibagiza) – A young Rwandan woman’s survival in the midst of the horrific 1994 genocide in her country.

Beautiful Boy (David Sheff) – A father’s perspective of his son’s battle with meth addiction.

Each of these stories is riveting in its own way . . . and each of us has similarly powerful stories to share. I’ve been musing about what aspect of my life I might address, were I to write a memoir — I think I’d explore my relationship with my father, who passed away 10 years ago.

How about you, what if you wrote a memoir? What season of your life would you describe . . . and/or . . . what memoir have you recently read and enjoyed?

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  1. Seems like so many memoirs are deadly serious — can anyone recommend a lighter memoir they’ve read lately?

  2. Hmmm…you pose an intersting question – a memoir that is lighter in nature than those you and I have read lately. I wonder if anyone writing their story could do so without revealing both tragedy and hope…sorrow and joy, or laughter in the midst of the unthinkable… In fact, as I ponder this idea I’m not sure one without both would hold my attention. I think someone who does a great job of bringing a full range of emotions to their writing is Anne Lamott. Traveling Mercies is a good place to start if she is a new author for somoene.

    If I were to write a memoir I think I might begin with writing about journey as a mother and grandmother.

  3. You’re right, Annette; how could one write a legitimate memoir without reflecting the full spectrum of human emotion? Anne Lamott is wonderfully gifted in giving us humor and grief, almost simultaneously.

  4. My family research has introduced me to many of my ancestors, and many would have had tales to tell. If I were to write a memoir in their words, I would have to read between the lines to picure the world of emotion they experienced, what periods in their lives might have been happy, others desperate or how he or she affected those around her in a long ago period. It would be interestng to try such a memoir. It would probably be largely fictional. Perhaps many memoirs are. cps

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