Memoirs are difficult. Writing a memoir means cutting deeply into the layered tissues of your life and exposing what you’ve found there.
If it was just resurrecting moments and dispassionately rendering them on to the screen or the page, then it wouldn’t be a painful, exhilarating exercise. It would be dry and boring and unsellable.
A dry rendering of the facts of a life works in some arenas; memoir writing is not one of them.
I’ve got a hand-written journal I wrote over the course of a summer more than a decade ago. Events were fresher in my mind then than they are today so it’s a great resource. My readership was me and that made noting the private, painful moments easier.
A few years back I tried to do a memoir, but it was restricted to the odd moments of my life. For instance, I used to see a drawing of a scary clown on a wall in the barn and I remember clearly being three years old and watching a beautiful being draw it.
But I can’t do one without the other. I have to write about growing up with a mentally unbalanced, violent sibling.
The two sides of my life, violence in one world, beautiful beings looking after me in another, go together.
Both sides have to be cut into and examined for a proper emotional vivisection.
I’ve started. I wonder if I have the courage to see it through?
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