Secrets

Memoir Writing

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.

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MemoirWriting-Secrets

If you’re going to mention, in your memoir, that there have been secrets in your past, you have to tell the reader what those secrets were, because the reader will want to know. Hopefully those secrets no longer have to be kept secret. Otherwise, you’d better not write about them.

In an article in the Independent, Ruth Rendell is mentioned as having written in her first Barbara Vine novel, A Dark-Adapted Eye: “Secrets, having them, creating them, keeping them and half-keeping them were the breath of life to her.” Ruth Rendell, the article says, has her own secrets although that particular interviewer found her in an unusually talkative mood and she even, though briefly, discussed her childhood.

But she didn’t say whether she had to keep secrets as a child. Maybe she did and she was good at it. I hated having to keep secrets as a child. Secrets stopped me from talking – I was so afraid of making a mistake – and that in turn took away my self-confidence.

So, while secrets have been a breath of life to Rendell’s character and, it seems, to Rendell herself, for me they have had the opposite effect.

How have secrets affected you?

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