Adventures in Memoir Writing
How I made it through revisiting my life's most challenging moments . . .
Have you ever gotten in your car on a sunny morning in order to take a drive somewhere — destination unknown? Maybe you have an idea of what direction you are heading and you are comfortable not knowing where you will be at the end of the day?
Traveling along a scenic route, you may be interrupted by potholes. And, if you are driving in the country, you might come to a complete halt in order to allow some cows to cross the road. You wait. Then you begin again. If you’re lucky you might come across a delightful diner at which to have lunch or, possibly, you may find yourself with a flat tire, or maybe both!
On your drive, you may come across a point of interest, or a meandering side road. You choose whether you want to stop and investigate, or make a turn there. This could lead to an even greater adventure — one you hadn’t planned on, but, nonetheless, worthwhile.
That is what writing my memoir was for me.
"You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better." - Anne Lamott
Like a drive that began on a glowing morning, I found there to be cloudy skies in some areas. A few raindrops as well. I could choose to turn a brief shower into a thunderstorm, depending upon how I wanted to look at it.
Memories work that way, too.
One memory leads to another, and then another. Some are happy and some are sad. Maybe one even makes you feel angry. What is it about the memory that evokes such feelings? Do you want to travel down a road filled with happiness and discover a way to confront fears? You can do both in a memoir. Memories of my children brought great joy. Fearful memories allowed me to confront and surpass those fears directly.
“Put one foot down at a time, but do it, Doris.” - excerpt from Rowing My Boat Ashore by Doris Clark
That is what writing a memoir can be about — transformation. It was my experience as I wrote, that I began to see episodes in my life from a new perspective. For me, it resolved a lot of issues when I saw them in words written on paper.
As you travel along on this road called life, where you end up is up to you. When you begin your journey into memoir writing, where it leads may surprise you. This, too, is your choice. Your journey can be as scenic as your creativity and self-honesty allow.
Ah, the sweet exhaustion re-engergized by the spark of enthusiasm to press the PUBLISH button . . .
© Doris Clark, March 2019