Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Memoir Project

My mom recently sent me a book called The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life by Marion Roach Smith.   I have been hooked from the very first page.

 My mom is a historian, genealogist, and connoisseur of reading and writing.  So as my mother's daughter, I have been working on my life story off and on since I was in high school.  I was really excited when Marion declared my stories have value.  Value for my family, and for a larger audience, plus value for my creative writing.  Here are some good quotes from her intro and first chapter.

"Right now my life is packed with middle-aged friends engaged in all manner of dangerous behaviors again - the ones they forgot we did in our twenties.  They insist that they are trying to feel something.  I suggest honestly writing about your life.  You'll something, I promise."

"After you learn how to truly observe the life you live, the result may be excellence - in both writing and in the living."

"One of the things I know for certain is everyone has a story."

"When you write memoir, you'll be writing what you know."

"Let us into your story by shedding light on our own dilemmas, fears, happiness, or wide-eyed wonder."

Marion's formula is "this is a story about x and the illustration is y".  For example:  This is a piece of humor, and the illustration is that day at the proctologist.   Topics can be anything, such as pity, freedom, tragedy, redemption, mercy, patriotism, etc, etc.  And the illustration has to be small enough to capture.  But the neat thing about this formula is "it makes room for the reader."
The book is made up of 112 pages and filled with engaging and very useful help for aspiring writers.  I am still working my way through it, but I am really looking forward to sharing with you my first attempt using her method.

Here is a lick to an NPR interview
Here is a link to Marion's blog with even more ideas for your writing.  Are you as excited as I am? 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting, I always appreciate feedback.