- My memory is releasing so much detail but am unable to write in the right voice, or from the right point of view. Often I start remembering with my adult perspective and it seems empty. Without personality. This may lead to me switching automatically to my child’s voice but not always. If I do switch automatically I feel much better about what I have written. If I don’t I can’t seem to ignore it. My writing stops. I basically slam my pen to paper and drop my book on the floor. I can’t seem to force the voice. Do I keep trying? Get a cup of tea and see if that little girl will come back if I am not so insistent with her?
- I can’t seem to capture the essence that surrounds me as a child. Perhaps this is due at least in part to my struggle with voice. I write and the words still feel empty. There was a feeling around me as a child and I can’t seem to get that feeling on paper. I do not know what words to use to describe it.
- Memory has been a great gift. Now that I am up and running I am remembering more and more detail rather than memories of events. I am remembering everyday situations: my sisters and I washing dishes, the ritual of arguing with dad to go have a nap while we took care of clean up; Dad hauling water and the way the cellar door would rest against the annex stove and how we always called out to every one that the cellar door was open so no one would fall in. What are these memories without the senses? Well they have kicked in too. I recall the sound the fan made when you hit the light switch in the bathroom. It roared so loud drowning out the noisy kitchen in the mornings. I remember the feel of the oily tea towels that we could never clean no matter how hard we tried. (I still don’t know what was wrong there. Must have been the water.) The smell of raw earth from the cellar and the cool, thick, heavy metal ring that served as the cellar door handle. I am rambling but in many ways I can go right back there. Yet a feeling is missing. The essence of a story is missing.
- An idea that my identity may rest in these everyday acts and things.
- I have cooked my brain. There is steam coming out of my ears and smoke through my nose. I gotta take a break. Let it power down and return. Maybe work on something else for a spell?
Last week I did a speech at Toastmasters. It was my second speech. The goal of the speech was to have what you wanted to say organized. Get it to flow.
Nervousness consumed me. Not like before when I was working and had to public speak. This time it was different. I held the fear of putting myself out there under a layer of something. The fear felt muffled. As I practiced my speech and reread it I felt I was never going to remember any of it. The fear of reading the speech and never making eye contact with the crowd filled me.
My first speech went much smoother. I wrote it the morning before I had to present it and it was about me. It was part of me. It didn’t take much to write it or feel comfortable with it although I was still nervous. It was under the required time amount but when I got up to the podium I manage to be natural and add more content. I enjoyed it very much and thought this second speech should go as smoothly. It stemmed from my passion for memoir writing. It was about the importance of a memoir, or reflecting on one’s life.
So what was different about the two speeches? One was from me about me. The other one was about my passion but I did use a lot of books to back up what I said versus the speech on me I didn’t need anything to back up my knowledge on the subject matter. Since the words were not all my own it was difficult for me to feel comfortable with it.
This feeling is familiar to me. I feel it often when I blog or when I feel the need to prove something to someone. I am unable to find my own words so I turn to others who have said it for me. I do this often, as does my husband, when we want to prove something to one another.
One of the kind criticisms I received at the end of my speech was that it sounded like I was writing to a publisher. The gentleman also commented that there was a lot of content in my speech and he felt that he would need to hear it more than once, several times, to hear everything I said. He thought it was great but it was too full and it felt off. (Those are my words not his.)
He suggested that writing for a speech may be different from writing for publisher as he put it. It needs to be more fun, natural, I need to feel comfortable up there at the podium.I pondered his suggestions for the next hour on my way home. My instinct is saying they should be the same.
I went to bed that night feeling as though the problem was in my writing voice. Perhaps it wasn’t very authentic in this second speech. Then curiosity bounced in joyfully. I wondered about whether or not I was writing the right things on my blog. Maybe I shouldn’t be writing about how to write your memoir. Perhaps I am a bit off my mark. If I am putting in too much effort on what I write then it isn’t flowing for me and then maybe it isn’t organic enough for me? I wonder … or maybe I am doubting myself and I’m not saying it the way I want to say it?
I let the idea go and went on with my day but the idea of my authentic voice floated around and around in my mind. When I think back now I can recall being aware that my brain was churning it over.
Then the next morning, or maybe it was two days after, I woke up at 2:30 in the morning. Wide awake. I had a desire to start writing my childhood memoir. Now certainly the chill outside of my duvet kept me tucked within but there was an element of me just being lazy and not wanting to get up and sit down and write.
So I asked myself, why don’t I want to do the work? The first two thoughts that followed were:
- Because it is going to be so much work not to mention the commitment to stay at it and the effort to remember. Drudging up memories can be good but also hard.
- I could approach my memoir-writing-how-to section on my blog by actually working on a memoir and writing about the process rather than referring backwards to the process I went through with Sunlight. Maybe this is a better technique to get to my authentic voice and say what I want to say while getting a another book written that has been on my mind.
So this is the beginning of a new technique. I am going alter the posts “Memoir Writing: Discover Your Life” posts by writing about my experience going through a current memoir writing process. Trying and experimenting on finding my authentic voice in the written word.