I saw a book the other day about “How to Write Your Memoirs”. It’s funny to me that so many people would be interested in writing their memoirs, so many that they would have a ‘How To’ book about doing so. And yet, it’s not THAT weird…because as Carol Shields points out to us all so often, everyone’s life contains a story. Sometimes, that story is more extraordinary than one thinks it is, until they read about a similar event in someone else’s life and realize that maybe what is contained within their own is a compelling narrative waiting to be told.
For me, writing non-fiction or memoir pieces has a problem because the stories of my life are translated to page like a diary every time. It’s formulaic and stoic and not conducive to sayingwhat I want to say in the way I want to say it. I want to write my memoirs like a collection of short stories. Instead, the narrative elements end up resembling items on a grocery list. I appreciate memoirs – good memoirs – for that reason. They tell something true and embellish those truths in a way that is poetic and important. In a way that makes one’s life truly exciting.
Someday I shall write a life story I can be proud to share with people. And when I finish writing it, I will cry.