Memoir – the very word provokes an image of an old guy sitting alone at his typewriter pecking away all of the vast knowledge he has accumulated over the years. We all think of memoirs as an end-of-life kind of project. Or one for the rich and fancy who want to make just a little more money out of all those nosey fans; either way our thought process on this issue is wrong. Anyone can write a memoir and you don’t have to be dying to do it.
We all lead interesting lives. Sure they may not be interesting to everyone but they are always interesting to someone, even if it is just our moms. A memoir has come to be the icon for those who feel they have to leave the story of their lives behind but why do that? Why not tell part of your story here and now? Case in point Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. This book is on writing but she used her life to enhance the story. Or Cate Montana’s Unearthing Venus which is a story about finding her true self in which she tells stories from her childhood. These are both memoirs but not of people dying off.
We all have stories to tell and each of our stories is unique and special. If your heart leads you to write a memoir don’t let social ideals keep you from it. Your story might help someone fell less lonely or stronger. Your story might show someone else that they too can find the strength to get through x or z. Whatever your story, if you feel led to share it, you should.
I recently began a memoir and I took a lot of guff for doing so at such a young age but you know what I decided? I decided that I should write it while my brain was still fresh and my memory is still there. Waiting to write such important work in the life of a writer is just silly. So if you have a story to tell…tell it…don’t wait until the grim reaper shows up.
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