Thursday, August 30, 2012

Memoir of a Memoir: Week 3

I took a week off from writing this lovely, to take a bite out of a creamy, syrupy, delicious chunk of my memoir. I have begun to tackle the mid-to-late nineties, which came as a surprise to even me.I was beginning to doubt I had what it took to really tell the truth.

Enter: Old Friend from Far Away Natalie Goldberg's guide to writing memoir. I had been using this book as a coaster and subsequent pillow since I bought it back in May. I had turned down the corners of a few pages, but I always had found it less than inspiring. Mostly because I wasn't keen on Goldberg's initial attempts to get one writing. "Tell me a memory you have of water: write for 10 minutes.", "Write about the first time you ate a peach: write for 10 minutes", "Tell me about a time you washed dishes: write for 10 minutes" Even the most "exhilarating" of subject matter at times left me cold: "What's been on your mind, write for 10 minutes.

This didn't quite work for me, as I am the type of person who refuses to buy into simple ploys to just get my pencil moving, words flowing, and my fingers smoking. But I can't determine whether it was at a time when I felt inspired by the world as an entity and I picked up the book to give it another go that I read the words: "What ghosts haunt you, write for 10 minutes." Actually I read those words about a week after I wrestled with a few. Immediately after this serendipitous moment, I began to see the passages in a whole new light: hers and my own.

I was no longer haunted as the dead arose. I would finally write on a particular memory, one I had replayed again and again, and three that I had forgotten would suddenly appear. Ghosts, Sickness, Apples, Driving, Windows, Potatoes, Chins, Sitting; It finally all meant something. It all fit into the greater whole.

I will leave those of you who want a glimpse into the book with a list of Goldberg's guidelines for writing memoir. This is only a very tasty hint of the book itself but I find myself going over it like a checklist, so I can remember all of the most important parts.

20 Questions

1 comment:

Reach for the clouds. . .

Tickle your toes. . .

Poets United Contributor