What is Memoir?
When I was a young reader I was very influenced by memoir-type books. I particularly loved the stories of upbeat, fun-loving people who talked about living adventureous lives.
(This is me - age 13 - at Piedmont Junior High School, Charlotte, NC - dressed in my initiation outfit for the Junior Honor Society. That basket was filled with books and we had to carry them on our heads throughout the day.)
Take for instance the two smart-talking young women on their first trip to Europe in "Our Hearts Were Young and Gay". I was about 12 years old when I read OHWYG - and had no idea about an ocean voyage much less about traveling in Europe. The two heroines were new college graduates ready to confront a wide-world - something so far removed from my life as to be unimaginable to me - but I loved their spirit and the way Cornelia Otis Skinner described their adventures and mis-adventures.
Skinner's writing style influenced my letters for years as I tried to translate my pretty bland ordinary every day life into up-beat slang infested language. Then I became enamored by Irma Bombeck - one of the women of the 50s who wrote funny vignettes of family life. I loved those writers who could find the funny in the housewife's life.
The stories I tell today are drawn from life...ok ok my life. Sometimes I turn to funny. Some times I touch the truth and pain of real experience. The constant thread in my work is the wish to record my life and the times, to make sense of it, to give these days of living meaning and value, to keep the people I love and loved close, to share whatever I have learned. Why? Because I believe each person's story has meaning and is important in the large fabric of life.
What's all this about?
Well, I am starting a memoir class this week.
I want to hear how the instructor describes what it means to "write a memoir" that's different from "telling a story?"
Have I been on the right track with my blog? If I have maybe I can cull through the past 6 years of writing and sift those words into my memoir.
No doubt about it. Jim's death taught me the truth that we don't have all the time in the world. There is an end for each of us.
So better tell the story now - - if that's what you want to do.
Posted by ELLOUISESTORY