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Should I Write a Memoir?

I went to a workshop yesterday put on by my chapter of the League of Utah Writers. The speaker was Dawn Marano, who was a figure skater, is now an editor and has written her own memoir. It was an interesting talk, and it got me digging around in my own past wondering – do I have anything to write a memoir about?

I’m not sure how interesting I am, really. Life has been so good to me. That was my immediate reaction to the question.

But I’ve thought a bit about my childhood. I wasn’t abused or anything. But when other people talk about their isolation, and about how it is a pretty universal thing to feel, I wonder: were they at the bottom of the social totum pole through out elementary school and junior high? Did they have glasses and a speech impediment in first grade, and a teacher who sat them in the ‘bad students’ table? Did they get excited about moving during elementary school, because maybe the kids in the new school wouldn’t know that they were social anethema and be friends? Only to be disappointed because, having been diagnosed so early on with a case of “If I go near you, kids will make fun of me” my social skills really were poor.

There were things I learned as an adult, social wise, that for my own good I probably should have known when I was 10-12. There are ways in which I am still deficient, I fear. I can handle one on one. I have no fear of talking to large groups of people. But put me in a room with a handful of people and I clam up. It’s all going too fast for me to participate, though I generally enjoy watching them.

I don’t think I could write a memoir interesting enough for New York, but maybe it would still be interesting to explore.

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4 comments

  1. I’m not saying whether you should or shouldn’t, but I can’t imagine trying to remember or put meaning into the bits of my life.

    My preferred way of memorializing myself? Fictionalizing bits of my life. That is much more fulfilling. And, some of it needs no fictionalization.

  2. Everyone has something to offer – something to share. Of course you should write. It’s sad when people keep all of what they’ve learned to themselves.

    You never know when someone needs to hear exactly whatever it is you’ve got to say.

  3. Thanks, guys. 

    HP –

    if it doesn’t need fictionization, then it’s fit for memoir. I don’t think there is any overarching meaning in anyone’s life. When you see such a thing in a book, what the author has done is take a theme and matched some of her experiences to it. That really isn’t so hard to do. One could do it with almost any theme.

    I’d love to see a memoir of your father.

    Moof –

    You are right, we all have a lot to teach each other. I don’t think I could get one published though. I’ve thought about blogging it. Then I’ve thought: do I really want to open up that much of me to the world? I think I might be hurt if I put it out there and very few people read it. I think the one overriding similarity between anyone that calls themself a writer is that they want an audience, whether they admit it or not.

    I sometimes think I have something truly important to say. Then I decide I’m arrogant and shouldn’t try to put myself forward so much. Everyone is important.

  4. Sometimes a memoir is something more for you than for the world. I think it is an important thing for you to do for your family as a record of your life. We can all learn something from another’s life, but only if the story is told. It may not be a best-seller…but this is mainly because the world doesn’t really want true reality just the scripted Big Brother and Survivor type of reality. Don’t let your fears stop you from doing what you feel inspired to do…it is OK to write something just for you (and your family). If nothing else, it will only help improve your writing skills.

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