Memoir Writing – Discover Your Life

We are going to begin at the end.  We are going to write our obituary.  What do we want it to say?  Loving mother?  Devoted father?  Hard worker?  Passionate about the community?   Or perhaps you feel it would say “Old drunk who could never get a handle on things.”

Write as your life is today or how you see it ending.  Maybe you just entered a journey of healing and recovery and see a different end to your current life than you did a month ago.  Write what you want other’s to say about you.  It may feel uncomfortable to say good things about yourself but try to go there.  When you pass away people will look for the goodness in you to write about.   They are not going to write about all the horrible things you tell yourself about yourself everyday.

Some of us think there isn’t much good in us, which I believe to be untrue.  No matter, the trick is for you to believe in your own self-worth not for me to preach it to you.  Find that one thing and write about it.  Maybe it is a nice smile that can warm people.  Maybe you were a free spirit when you were a child until someone took that away from you.   Claim it back. Write about it.

Traditionally obituaries are written.  Paragraph after paragraph.  But this is your obituary.  You can do it any way you want.  If you want to write a poem, please do so.  Maybe you would like to do mind mapping, please do so.  You could also create a collage of photos of yourself over the years.  There is a decent website that I haven’t played around with much but it is www.vuvox.com that allows you to make a digital collage.   Or get some glue and paste copies of your treasured photos on a board.  Anything you want can go.  The important thing is to express yourself and tell your story.

Here is my sample obituary:

Marlene Luneng, age 36, died today.  She was a loving mother, albeit a bit distracted with her new writing career, and a loyal wife.  She leaves behind three wonderfully gifted and beautiful daughters, three amazing sisters and her parents.

Those around her saw her as attentive and giving.  Sometimes too much.  She was committed to working with the public and loved chatting with individuals and hearing their stories.  Her children were often frustrated at how strangers on the street or in check-out lines at grocery stores would tell their mother such detailed stories of themselves to her.

She enjoyed giving people a listening ear and some  inspiration and considered herself a muse to some.  She was also known for retelling other’s stories as inspiration to others.  A messenger of sorts.

Her life work involved various jobs in the public and private sphere until she realized she only wanted to work for the public.  With that decision came opportunities to work with inner-city youth in Saskatoon’s not-for-profit community, and then in government helping other’s attain their educational dreams in rural Saskatchewan.

This was not enough for her and she soon left it to pursue her own passions of writing, story telling and educating others to be themselves and follow their true essence.   Always wanting to understand the mystery of life she realized this was what she was meant to do.  Sadly she leaves us before being able to touch us with her gift.

She will be cremated and her ashes will be spread throughout their family home in Rose Valley where she feels is the only true home she ever had.  Afterwards she hopes everyone will be joyful and celebrate her life and passing with dancing, music and good food.

Let us begin here, at the end.  Please, I invite you to share your obituary.  If you like, send it to me privately at marleneluneng@yahoo.ca

Advertisements

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.