Research for writing memoirs


Just wanted to share a couple of excerpts from my current read. I’m trying to find the best way to share my memories but do no harm. I am ready to share with my readers the next few chapters of “The Path Taken”, but I want my friends and family to know these are my memories and interpretations of events. I do not set out to blame or hurt only to tell a story in hopes that someone somewhere may benefit from my experiences. Be they bad or good each and every single one has helped (and continues to) create the person I am today. Thank you all for your contributions to my creation.

1) “Mary Karr notes in The Liars’ Club: A Memoir, “Memoir is not an act of history but an act of memory, which is innately corrupt.” So even though a memoir tells the story of a person’s memories, which conceivably are from real-life events that actually happened, not everyone will have experienced the events the same way”

2) “A memoir is not a collection of cool stories. It is not a chaotic or fascinating adventure. A memoir grows from the wild desire to make sense of what has happened to you. A memoir is, by definition, the story of the author’s memories as he works to understand some aspect of his life”

3) “Memoir isn’t the summary of a life; it’s a window into a life, very much like a photograph in its selective composition. It may look like a casual and even random calling up of bygone events. It’s not; it’s a deliberate construction.” —WILLIAM ZINSSER, ON WRITING WELL”

4) “There is no more potentially contentious group than family. We all know that to be true. Holidays with family bring stress. Visits from parents prompt us to unlock the liquor cabinet. The person who grows up to be a writer or artist of another sort is almost always the family member who witnessed her family members at their worst— abuse, horrible fights, alcoholism, and so on. We were the ones who rarely spoke about what we saw, but what we saw ate away at our insides, begging to be told. We were the truth tellers, the light shiners, the ones who were eternally misunderstood. And here we are, finally, before our screens, our fingers both itchy and hesitant, ready to tell our truth”

The Truth of Memoir: How to Write about Yourself and Others with Honesty, Emotion, and Integrity by Cohen, Kerry