This post is one of 26 I am writing for the A-Z Challenge on the subject of writing a memoir. I’m not an expert in writing memoirs, but I’m exploring the topic with thoughts about writing one, and am happy to share the fruits of my exploration.
There are two (or more) I’s involved in a memoir: the I that’s writing the memoir and the I that takes part in every scene in the memoir. It’s important to keep the two separate. You are not the same person you were when the scenes you are describing took place.
Detachment is what enables you to laugh at your former self and to understand truths that were not clear at the time. We’ll be coming back to these traits in future posts.
Detachment is what enables you to recreate yourself. I’ll leave you with a quote by Orson Scott Card:
You know how writers are… they create themselves as they create their work. Or perhaps they create their work in order to create themselves.
14 replies on “A-Z Challenge: D is for…”
Interesting! I actually wrote a journal for a while in third person, which made me detach myself from everyday experiences, I learnt a lot from doing that. (ok, I think I did..)
I was thinking of writing my memoir in the third person for that reason. The first draft, anyway.
Interesting! Love the quote – very thought provoking…
Isn’t it 🙂
Your third sentence is SO true and I hadn’t looked at it like that before. I think this will be a big help when I go back to re-writing my memoir.
(I moved this comment to the D post, where I thought it made more sense.) “You are not the same person you were when the scenes you are describing took place.” That’s probably good to remember for life, too. The person I was once informed the things that happened to me. I’m not that person any more, so I shouldn’t worry that those things will happen now.
Great information! I am not sure my life would be interesting reading, but perhaps… Happy D day!
I would be happy to have had a life that wouldn’t be interesting reading. Thanks for posting 🙂
I found it easier to gain a healthy detachment when doing the editing rather than the first draft. I first let it spill out onto the pages, everything including the kitchen sink, and some of it was raw and painful and I was emotionally too close to it all. Reading my old diaries made incidents that had happened years ago seem like only yesterday and it hurt to ‘go back’ to the thoughts and feelings I’d had at the time to write about them. None the less, I think my early drafts were a necessary part of the process, and then when I was ready to put on my editing hat, I was better able to step back and decide how to shape the material.
Thanks, Jean. I’ll bear that in mind.
I’m here with the challenge! Great to meet you!
Hi and welcome!
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