In Chapter 6 of her book, Writing Your Life – Putting Your Past on Paper, Lou Willett Stanek talks about achieving distance. She says finding material for your memoirs is not difficult but selecting could be.
“If your divorce is ranging in the courts and in your mind, as tempting as it may be to tell your side, it’s best to not choose it as a topic for your memoir. You will write about it, of course, but not while you are in the middle of it. Now your perspective is too narrow, too emotionally clouded, and you remember too many details that will eventually not seem as important.”
Time has a profound effect on emotions, understanding and writing style. Everything changes with time.
This week, I want you to delve into your past and come up with a memory of a person. We’ll use Ms. Stanek’s prompt below to unlock the memories.
“Look at your Christmas card list. The names scratched through might be the most engrossing. Do you remember why you were angry at Henry? Do you still not know why Alice stopped sending you a holiday greeting? And Mark? Where do you suppose that rascal calls home these days?”
It doesn’t have to be a Christmas card list. Find a yearbook, a diary entry, an old letter or piece of jewelry that reminds you of someone you lost touch with. Why? Was it an argument? Moving away? Or just growing up and apart?
Close your eyes and remember. Then open them and write.