On Memoir

“When you put down the good things you ought to have done, and leave out the bad ones you did do — well, that’s Memoirs.”
Will Rogers

I’ve been engrossed with Natalie Goldberg’s memoir writing book this week. I used to think memoir was only something written when you are old and retired, thinking back on your glory days, your childen, your career, your amazing travels. I guess I thought only famous people wrote memoirs or memoirs that sell anyway. This book has changed my thinking about memoir writing. Filled with creative writing prompts. Natalie uses short chapters to keep people with short attentions spans like myself, engaged and reading. Using examples from retreats or classes she taught Natalie illustrates how exciting and verbally stimulating writing memoir can be. As she states in the introduction memoir is not “a chronological pronouncement of the facts of your life” but instead a series of memories, moments and events that made you who you are. I think this book is a keeper, right up there with her classic Writing Down the Bones.
Inspired by her book, set the timer for 10 minutes and write about all of the houses you have lived in. Want more? 10 more minutes, write about a place you haven’t lived. Now get back to work!

The Writing Nag

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