Home » On Memoir Writing » 11 Lessons Learned: Week 3

11 Lessons Learned: Week 3

  1. There is only one space now after the period?  Damn!  When did that change?  Who changed it and why? Was a bill passed through parliament about this?
  2. The passive voice is strong in me.  I am forever writing with it and thanks to wordpress spell/writing checker it is catching it every time.  I am learning to make stronger sentences.  In On Writing Stephen King explains the verbs well for me.  I learn grammar the best in the most abstract random ways.  Don’t sit me down with a grammar book cause my brain will freeze.  I need someone to sneak it in like Mr. King, or Grammar Girl, for it to stick.  Well the passive and active verbs haven’t stuck yet but I am learning.
  3. That the only right and wrong way to publish a memoir is with your conscience.  What you are willing to live with and what you can’t live without. It is challenging to write a story about yourself, putting yourself out there and being vulnerable, but to do that with others in your life is not something easily weighed on ones conscious.
  4. I have gained great appreciation for how I was raised (see, passive voice.  I will leave this one in).  Unintentionally my parents gave me more gifts than I was aware of.  I knew I had a fabulous childhood and that is why I wanted to write This Old House but I am now seeing more and more gifts.
  5. The fear of saying what I want to say is still present.  I often type something and then think ‘Shit.  I can’t say that.  What will people think of me.’  Not saying it is weighing on me though.  I am going to have to get it off my chest soon and release that inhibition.
  6.   I have started writing things in my memoir writing book called JIFFs.  Short abrupt memories that plop into the middle of a main memory that I am writing.  I write the word JIFF in the margin and I am going to come back to them and investigate them more thoroughly at the end of my journey.  They are so short and random but I hold on to them for a reason.
  7. Now that I have a theme I have started a sheet where I brain-stormed memories that tie to the theme of my embarrassments, fears and feelings of inadequacies but also the light side of it the joys and the quirky moments and simple life that was so fulfilling and we had no idea.  I hope to put it in a timeline soon and post it on my website as a living document that I will add to as memories come.
  8. This process is connecting dots for me.  I love connecting dots.  That is my biggest passion of all – solving mysteries!  For example, I discovered where my fear of talking came from, being corrected by my peers in the grade three classroom for using the word ‘worser’.  Wow!  How long we hold onto some little-big things!
  9. While the memoir writing process is amazing and healing it can also be dangerous … is that the word I want to say?  Some memories don’t want to resurfaced, or they don’t want to come to the surface yet.  Write gently when you hit a moment that slows down your pen quickens your heart but stops your breath.  If a memory doesn’t want to come don’t rush it.  How to know if you need to push yourself or not?  Trust yourself.  If you choose not to push the memory see how you feel afterward.  Do you regret it or feel relieved?
  10. Uffda!  Can I make it so that I have learned 10 lessons this week?! I will combine it.  Tone of voice and point of view.  When I write about the memory of being picked on in Grade Three for using the word ‘worser’ I write it from the POV of me as a girl with the tone of voice of confusion.  The confusion I felt as a little girl still lingers.  I will re-write that scene a few more times to get the meat out. (Horrible analogy for a vegetarian).
  11. I have issues using the word ‘onto’.  Gotta stop.
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5 thoughts on “11 Lessons Learned: Week 3

  1. I myself cannot sing in front of people. The fear is so real that whenever I have to (in class, or whatever event), I develop a cough and get my voice all messed up (in psychology they call it psychosomatic illness or conversion). And this fear began when my 3rd grade teacher picked someone else to sing when she couldn’t get me to do it loud enough.

    • I apologize for it taking me so long to reply. May I ask you if you ever think about that moment in class room in any other way than it being traumatic?

      For example, when I think of the event in my Grade 3 classroom when people picked on me for using poor grammar I kind of think it was a silly moment. A simple moment that I could redo quite easily. Then other times I think of how they were all being bullies and I let them have that power. In realizing this I take a bit back from it each time.

      Every time I reflect I get something new. Know what I mean? Do you have a similar experience?Do you recap that moment in different ways? Do you feel in anyway that you are recovering from it?

      • Yes, I know what you mean. And yes, there are moments now that I’m older that I can just shrug off and view in the way you described. But I guess when it comes to that “singing” moment, .. it’s become so deeply etched in my subconscious that I find it really difficult to overcome. I was too young then to think of it as other than a blatant statement that I could not sing well enough. And I carried that as I grew. But I do try to not let it run my life, and I’m still working on it. Thanks for asking…

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