Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Memoir Vs. Memoirs

For a long time, the word memoir only existed in the plural.

Picture it: a rich Lord sits around his estate after a long life of plundering and looting, and decides it is time to write his memoirs. He wants to tell all the tales of his life, from being a young lad who aced cricket to marauding the barbarians to his retirement and marriage to a much younger woman.

This is what most of us picture (or some version therein; famous stars, former presidents, you name it) when we hear the word "memoir." But that is a whole other kettle of fish from what memoir is.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Brooke Warner on Liability in Memoir

This is such a good article, i am just going to link to it. I especially agree with this closing passage, which could really start the article, and suggestion #3.


Check out Brooke Warner's classes and She Writes - great community and resources. And this new anthology Warner edited, mentioned in this article.

Here's the quote -

"If you’re afraid of a big fallout, consider whether that fear might be your inner critic at work, making you bad and wrong for exposing someone or something that you’re not “supposed” to share. Going against the grain and exposing yourself and others is the number one scariest experience of memoir writing. You may need to be in dialogue with your critic to ease its mind so you can continue to write your truth. Remember that you are brave and in charge of what you ultimately share or don’t share, and you have time between starting your book and publishing it to make incremental choices and edits along the way."

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Waking Takes Time: PTSD and Memoir

Recently, I've been involved in learning a technique to help relieve PTSD. The project is focused around helping vets and their families, but the fact is, the organization also knows plenty of people have PTSD from non-explicit war circumstances: rape, abuse when growing up, even event-specific PTSD from things like 911.

I've also had some conversations with therapists who insist we cannot work on memoir until we have cleared the triggers around our PTSD. The fact is, as of now, I have yet to see anything, included the technique I am learning and offering, to clear those memories entirely. I've pointed to this before in this blog, here. But also, I am skeptical that waiting until we have reached some state of clarity is useful. There are exceptions.