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A-Z Challenge: U is for…

Unique Understanding

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-UniqueUnderstanding

I hope this never happens to you! Or to me. We all understand things in different ways. Our memories are all unique. That’s why, if ten people are present at a scene, each one will describe it in a different way.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to have written this:

The incidents described and views expressed in this memoir are all my own (unless otherwise ascribed). Other people might well see the events in different ways or disagree with my opinions. But it was the way I saw and reacted to events that influenced me. Anyone who disagrees with me is welcome to write their own memoir.

In other words, I might have got a scene completely wrong. I may have inadvertently changed the facts, or I may have interpreted them incorrectly. But as long as I believe or believed in the facts and my interpretation as written, the outcome has been part of my emotional journey, and so these things deserve a place in my memoir.

André Aciman has some interesting things to say about truth in memoir here.

Unfortunately, but excitingly, I probably won’t be able to respond to your comments before the beginning of May. But do please keep commenting. When the challenge is over, I will write a concluding post with a summary of all the advice you’ve been giving me. And don’t forget, the Comment link is at the top of this post.

By Miriam Drori

Author, editor, attempter of this thing called life.

2 replies on “A-Z Challenge: U is for…”

This is so true – we all have our own perspectives on the way things were… It makes for some interesting conversations when I am with my brother and sister and we recount the ‘same’ memory from three different viewpoints! In the end though, I think in a memoir, as long as it’s your truth, and, as you say, part of your emotional journey, then it deserves its place as you recall it. That’s what I think anyway!

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