Memories Dont Fade Like Hair Does: Memoir Writing Help for You, Our Elders, to Tell Your Story
~~~Old age, to the unlearned, is winter; to the learned, it's harvest time. ~ Yiddish saying~~~
You can tell your life story by biography, which is a whole book that starts from the start and ends at (or near) the end. But if you don't want to take on such a huge task, you can tell your story in snippets and snatches, through memoir writing.
Memoir writing consists of--as the word, from the Latin memoria, indicates--individual memories.
The convenience this affords us is this: --we can start at any place in our lives we want --we can write of an event, moment, idea, person, place, or object...in isolation --we don't need any order or convention to inhibit our getting words on paper...to start.
Let the Memoir Writing Come
Don't worry about grammar, punctuation, or any formatting or structure. Just jot down the first thing that comes and go with it, whether it takes you into another story, a description of other things, or your opinion.
We will, over time, cover different ways to remember, different ways to write, and then, later, ways to put the pieces all together--if you wish.
For now, let's start with a kind of memoir writing that we can use in every piece we write:
We need description. Our readers need description. And we need to get that description out of our heads and into details.
Details Our Readers Can Sense
Our goal (and power as writers) is to turn what we recall into what readers can feel, see, taste, touch, and hear, so we can get them as close to our memories as possible. One Way to Describe
This is fun with a friend, but you can do it alone, too, and e-mail me your results.
Get the following items from your pantry or ice box (or have someone bring them to you):
lemon peanuts in shell plain chocolate bar/drops/chips marshmallow kiwi Pop Rocks candy or Alka-Seltzer tablets. one small knife a notebook and writing tool
Work with one item at a time. 1. Look at the item. How does it look? Write down the texture, color, size, shape, and other words that you think of when you look at the item. 2. Touch the item. How does it feel? What does the temperature feel like, the texture, the weight? 3. Smell the food item. How does it smell? 4. Listen to the item. Does it have a sound? How about when you add it to water, put the knife to it, bite into it, or put it in your tongue? 5. How does it taste?
Here is the Challenge:
With every word you use to describe, try to push yourself (or your partner) to go beyond the obvious descriptive words. For example, if you find that the marshmallow is soft, what kind of soft is it? Is it soft the way fresh laundry is soft? The kind of soft in whipped cream? Is the sweet a candy sweet or a sweet gherkin sweet?
Imagine that you are describing the item to someone who has never seen/had one, someone from another planet, and you need to get the person to retrieve the item for you to save your life. (The same way you would need to describe a medication, so the person doesn't bring you a heart pill instead of a blood pressure pill.)
Be as unique and original as you can with your words.
Refuse to be satisfied with just "crunchy," "sour," "cold."
Then, when we go to the next assignment, you will be ready to bring to life the details of your past, your life story.
Note: Did you notice that pushing yourself to describe what you sensed inevitably evoked comparisons. Descriptions lend themselves to metaphors. Writers use metaphors to convey and express. You are now a writer!
N.H.-born prize-winning poet, creative nonfiction writer, memoirist, and award-winning Assoc. Prof. of English, Roxanne is also web content and freelance writer/founder of http://www.roxannewrites.com, a support site for academic, memoir, mental disability, and creative writers who need a nudge, a nod, or just ideas?of which Roxanne has 1,000s, so do stop in for a visit, as this sentence can't possibly get any longer?.
Concision. (Sounds like I made up another word.
How To Stay Fit While Writing
Day after day, writers tend to sit for hours writing that novel or story, and over time, this can become a potential problem. Their metabolism may slow down and the pounds can inch up.
Starting a Local Writers Group
My husband is no poet, so when I offer my carefully pruned poetry for him to review, I get the usual and unsatisfying reply: "That' nice sweetie." Furthermore, he could care less about whom the Poet Laureate is and why I love his smoke pit conversation type poems.
Business Writing Tip: Question & Answer Format
Traditionally, business writing uses the "one thing after another" format, which usually means a plain recitation of the facts, circumstances, or whatever else needs to be said.But, we have a number of other options, and some of them may provide more responses or better responses.
I Am Biodegradable - My Writing Is Not
My dad was wrong. I just discovered that I am good for nuthin' after all.
The Power of Punctuation
Punctuation, when used creatively, is powerful. Note, however, that when I say 'when used creatively', I don't mean that you can make up the rules.
Know your Audience Before you Write Your Book or Web Site
If you want happy customers to use your service or buy your book, you need to focus on their needs and desires.Unhappy customers leave when they can't find what they want--benefits and an easy way to buy.
Print-On-Demand: A Definition and a Comparison
The purpose of this article is to consider Print-On-Demandpublishing as an alternative for the aspiring author. It has itsstrengths and its weaknesses.
Aesop, Abraham Lincoln, and You
May I tell you about a writing technique shared by Aesop and Abe Lincoln?Let's look first at Aesop's timeless tale about the tortoise and the hare. It's the one that ends "slow and sure wins the race.
Should You Do a Writing Course?
First, let's tackle the question that is uppermost in many aspiring writers' minds: "Do I need to do a writing course to sell my writing?"No. Absolutely not.
Water to Swim In
Not long ago, I took stock of my unrealized desire to be a published writer, or maybe I should I say ‚??Writer‚?? with a capital ‚??W.‚?? For some reason it always seemed a lofty goal, to want to see my byline in print.
The Daily Rite
If you want to be a writer, then you must write - you must write something every day.If possible, have an established time to write every day.
Scenes and Structure
Beginning writers often tend to think of a book as a series of chapters. It's actually more useful to regard it as a series of linked scenes.
Talent or Toil
As in all endeavors, toil is necessary to succeed and more so in writing. Work or its habit is the mother of talent.
Does Your Plot Suit Your Characters And Vice-Versa?
Creative Writing Tips -When an idea comes to us for a short story, we either think of a story line first or a character first. Whichever we think of first, and later on build, we have to make sure the plot and the character suit each other.
Amazing Ways Writing Articles Can Improve Your Business
How to get a lot of traffic to your website FREE? Writing articles. This is one of most cost effective way to promote your website - it saves you a lot of money, in the meantime, you get a lot of valuable visitors.
English Grammar - Seven Outdated Rules You Can Ignore
No matter what your fifth-grade English teacher says, some grammar "rules" no longer apply. The style mavens of our day all agree that the ability to communicate clearly and concisely takes precedence over archaic grammar rules.
Keys to Characterisation
Far too many inexperienced writers create flat, stereotypical characters: the brave fireman, the damsel in distress, the strict schoolmistress. The best characters are those who evoke emotions within the reader - fear, admiration, affection, laughter, horror? If the writer fails to make us care about the characters, no matter how ingenious the plot, we will toss the story aside without a second thought.
A Simple Contest with a Strong Message: Wake Up Your Writing Spirit
The Blogfest 2005 Writing Contest has only been running for two weeks and already the results are overwhelming. And not because we're getting far more entries than we expected.
Business Letter Etiquette
Business etiquette is fundamentally concerned with building relationships founded upon courtesy and politeness between business personnel. Etiquette, and especially business etiquette, is a means of maximising your potential by presenting yourself positively.