Memoir Writing: 5 Thoughts About Truth In Memoir

Now my last post has possibly left you wondering about truth in writing down a memory if they are dependant on your emotions and ever changing point of view through time.

1.  To put it simply, as long as it is close enough, keep it plausible, you will be fine.  For example the colour of someone’s hair is less significant in most cases than the individual and the role they played in your life or memory.

2.  Capturing the true emotion, the heart of the story, is more important than all the details.  They help support the story – add colour.

3.  Keep writing. If you can get yourself into relaxed state, re-experiencing the moment, you will automatically fill in the spots you don’t remember with plausible details. Don’t stress if you place yourself in your grandma’s kitchen even though it may not have been. If it isn’t really important to the story than it is okay. Get the important bits down.  You may find yourself feeling like it is fiction after you write it but then come to sense that it was a part of your life.  Memories are tricky tricky things.

4.  If you have mixed emotions on an event you may be surprised at how it comes out on paper. It may take the point of view of good, bad, both, or indifferent. Extracting a memory from your head occasionally lets you see it’s true qualities and are able to let go of any attachment you have to it.  Kind of like wondering about an object laying on the floor only to realize it was your broach.

5.  Trust yourself. Be aware of free-floating thoughts as you remember the moment. Most importantly write. The truth of the memory will come out, or as closes to the truth as you need and want.

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Be Aware

I open the west-facing door to head out of the yoga studio.  The yellowy-orange setting sun jumps out at me with a delightful surprise.  It is like the world is all a dark deep blue and this orange circular glow is hanging in the middle of all this depth.  I yell a good-by to Debra and dash out to my car.  The sky is noisy with thunder and sparkling with lightning but in this moment it isn’t raining.  It has taken a reprieve from its stormy activity.

I leave the yard and as I drive home I watch the sun as it slowly descends, falling below the crust of the earth.  When I first walked out it was sitting high in the sky.  By the time I hit the highway, 3 minutes, it was already half way to the earth.  By the time I turn onto my grid road, heading north, half of it is below the edge of the earth.  In 10 minutes it has been slipping down the dark blue sky like quick sand.  So quickly I am surprised and in awe of this beautiful event I get to witness.

I feel it is calling to me as I watch it from the corner of my eye heading north now.  It is asking me to not forget it.  To remember it.  Maybe to even write about it.  It isn’t sad that it is leaving us.  It knows it is time and just wants me to soak up its energy, its sacredness.

Before my journey to joy I would have noticed the setting un.  I may have even been in awe of it.  I just wouldn’t have allowed myself to get as wrapped up in it and let it consume a whole 15 minutes of my life as well as write about it as soon as I walk in the door.

All this magnificence in nature is a true gift that we can watch and soak up every day, every season, every year.  We ignore that the sun rises and sets every day.  We don’t even ponder that we set our daily rhythms, something so basic in our lives, to this sacred event.  I wish I had a camera with me.  I would have loved to have posted a picture of it.

Next time.

Memoir Writing for Life Purpose – Back Ground: Why Are We Here?

“Our lives are our story, and our story is our life.  Story is the narrative thread of our experience – not what literally happens, but what we make out of what happens, what we tell each other and what we remember.  This narrative determines much of what we do with the time given us between the opening of the blank page the day we are born and the closing of the book the day we die.”

–  Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story by Christina Baldwin

I am here because I find that our stories are like riddles, leaving strange and mysterious clues about who we are.  We are so busy and distracted with life that we often totally miss them.  Yet this puzzle, this little mystery floats around us waiting for us to jump and get ourselves hooked.

The world is magical and amazing.  I want to help you see it too.  Our lives are a mystery, a message that needs decoding.   If perhaps I could reach one clue or snatch a riddle that is floating in the wind around you like a bubble gum wrapper just to get you hooked, to allow you one peek into the mystery that awaits you, I will do it gladly.

This Monday blog on finding your path, cutting the brush away, pulling at those wonderful dandelions, is all about finding the treasure in everything.  Even those memories that are less than welcoming and have caused you so much suffering.  There are gifts in those memories.  Maybe the best gifts ever are hiding in your darkest moments if you can face them.  But we are not there yet.  We are just beginning.  There are ways around resolving those past memories without even having to remember them.  Sound like a magic trick?  Well it is.  Cause life is magic.  So many possibilities you have no idea!

Please, jump on my bandwagon, even if is three years or ten years after I have posted this.  Write or email me if I don’t respond to a comment on this website.  Who knows where life will take me.  But I can assure you this desire to uncover a mystery will always be with me.  I am 36 years old and it has been with me my whole life from loving the art of algebra and calculus and don’t even get me started on the joy of unravelling triangles in geo-trig.  It is the reason I love looking at hundred year old farm houses left abandoned on the prairies and fantasize about them, particularly the women, living their life purpose and finding joy, when they have nothing.

I look forward to sharing with you my tricks of the trade I have learned over the years and sharing some stories.  We are all connected in my view so I welcome your stories and the opportunity for us all to share and inspire each other as time goes on.

What we need for our journey:

You need to discover how you like to write.  What method allows you to zone out and say/write all those things you would never say if you were conscious.  I know I blog on the laptop but when I want to do a writing prompt or write some memoirs I need pen and paper.  Not just any pen and paper.  I am fussy about the quality and colour of paper.  I can not write on white paper.  For the longest time I didn’t even want lined paper.  If I wanted to write sideways or at an angle I wanted to be free to do that and unlined paper gave me that opportunity easily.  I also need good quality.  My paper has to be smooth.

Pens, well there is another issue.  I try out many.  My pens need to be smooth and depending on the paper I am using I grab a different pen.  Now maybe you won’t be as fussy as me but I welcome you to experiment.  There is no right or wrong way, just your way.

PS:

Explore and don’t forget to pay attention to those thoughts in the gap of your consciousness.

Memoir Writing For Life Purpose #1.a

Well I spent the long weekend thinking about it and I can not leave the importance of my first post on memoir writing as it is.  It is too important.  It was in regards to paying attention to your breath, thoughts and feelings as you move throughout the day.  There are messages and codes in these thoughts.  They are like little birds carrying keys to unlock your past.  Don’t let them fly away.

In this technique I do believe you can find everything you are looking for in discovering yourself on your journey back to the beginning.  The beginning when you were pure of societal’s pressures and you picked your nose anyway.  Or perhaps you ran around naked before someone told you that we must where cloths around people.  Then there are those damn things called manners.  Those manners can really get in the way and teach us things about  who we are suppose to be.  One example is how they educate us on our gender.  As a girl it was really important for me to be self sacrificing.  Even more so, it was important for me to be self-sacrificing as a Luneng.  But I am getting ahead of myself.

I wanted to emphasize one last time ( it won’t be the last time) about being aware of what you are thinking and feeling.  Even now as I sit on this couch I feel I may be a bit saucy in this post because I am trying to manage back pain and lets face it, my pain has to go somewhere.

Please, if you notice your breathing change from a calm, relaxed, steady rhythm, ask yourself what is going on.  It may not be always obvious but keep digging.  Keep asking.  You will get a gift of awareness once in a while and then more often than not.   Secrets to your past lay in these moments.  Don’t let them disappear.  You never know when you will get a memory back.

Take a peek. Look outside of your daily life to see something new and grand.
This picture was taken at my daughters school. Outside of the tunnel she is in lays a playground waiting to be discovered. Just like our memories. Are you ready to play or are you asking yourself “Why would I want to dig up all that stuff from the past?”

As we embark on this journey lets remember to be aware of what is going on within us.  Lets be kind to ourselves because some memories will not be welcomed.  Now, we need to answer the question of why we would even go through all of this and then we will get to the bit on ‘how to remember and what to do with those memories’.

See you next week Monday!

Memoir Writing For Life Purpose Suggestion #1

Well folks, I can’t stress this first point enough.  It is is the primary, the core, the everything.  You need to be aware of your breath, thoughts and feelings.

When you are at the till and you notice you are starting to get a bit anxious try to be aware of this.  Be curious about what your thoughts are and what is causing your breath to change.

Perhaps you are writing something and start to feel upset, shift your writing to the feeling instead of your story.  Or finish your story and see if you can find a core belief (s) hidden in that story.

Today I was packing a lunch for my family to head out to our Kinsmen Park.  I was rushing around the kitchen worried about what I was going to put into our picnic basket.  I wanted our lunch to look good.  Then all of a sudden I realized this need to impress and questioned it further as I continued packing.  It wasn’t about impressing anyone.  It was about not looking desperate or poor.  Growing up poor perhaps had an impact on me in terms of food or packing for social events?  Time to write and investigate this further, I thought.

You can be doing the most mundane thing like I was, packing a lunch.  See, listen and feel but most importantly be aware.  You really need to see who you are and what is triggering you to behave in certain ways.  Often I notice a change in my breath first.

I was in a workshop and a lady kept talking about other people and herself being incompetent.  Finally the facilitator of the group brought to her attention the number of times she used the word ‘incompetent’.  It was such an ah-ha moment for her.  I am certain she went home and dove into this.

I know we are all busy but take a minute as often as you can during the day to check in and see how you are doing.  You will be surprised where stories from the past creep up.