Bite size memoir is designed to help anyone record some personal memoir in small manageable bites. There’s a prompt every week and some constraints to keep it small (with full details at the bottom of this post). Feel free to dip in and out each week without commitment.

To catch up on how it started, please read here. If you have your own blog and want to participate, please feel free to incorporate links to and from your post to encourage readers to blog hop.

This week’s prompt was Magic and Fairy Tales. (You can read the compilation of responses here.)

For various reasons, I had a last minute change of plan for today’s prompt and under time pressure to come up with my own offerings, suddenly felt rather constrained! Heeding my own advice, I started with the 10 x “I remember..” statements as a warm up. Then I started exploring Enid Blyton who was the source of many of my childhood fantasies about fairies, magic and animals that might answer back! She was the JK Rowling of my era and if JK Rowling had been writing when I was young, I’d have been running into the wall at Kings Cross to get to Platform 93/4 !

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 12.34.16

I was trying to keep my 150 words of prose in one time frame, when it suddenly struck me – I don’t have to – and maybe I’m here writing this, perhaps because I had such a creative imagination. Do I owe it all to Enid Blyton for fuelling that in me at an early age?

I’ve had a week of wearing my heart on my sleeve and bleeding all over the paper but you don’t have to – this should be fun and not a competition!

10 x “I remember ” statements

I remember my Mum believed in spirits and ‘you could be anything you wanted to be’.
I remember strange smells were put down to ‘visitors’.
I remember things that were missing had been ‘moved’.
I remember seeing a ghost at the bottom of my bed – an old lady in old fashioned clothes.
I remember Thumbelina, the Borrowers and the Bionic Man!
I remember the excitement when the tooth fairy left ten pence under my pillow in exchange for a tooth.
I remember Samantha in Bewitched wiggling her nose.
I remember practicing wiggling mine for hours in front of the mirror.
I remember concentrating really hard on making something disappear saying ‘abracadabra’.
I remember believing I would find my own magic one day.

150 words prose

Who knows what we don’t know! I read ‘facts’ about pixies, brownies, elves and fairies. I was certain fairies existed and I was the special sort of little girl they would reveal themselves to. I kept swan vesta match boxes, and turned them into beds, cutting little blankets out of scraps of fabric. I spent hours wandering the garden finding perfect pebbles for fairy tables and chairs. I lay in wait beside fairy rings.

fairy rings

Later on I would screw my eyes up – wishing and cursing people and events – certain I could influence them. And later still, I needed to believe ‘fairy stories’ of miraculous cures. I would screw up my eyes going beyond the poo-pooing of the ‘facts-only brigade’. Is it because of this, I could take steps into uncharted worlds that led me to the impossible land of survivors? Who knows what we don’t know?


 What do you remember?!

I’m interested in what you might have believed in or just as importantly, didn’t! What is the point of memoir if it isn’t to recognise that we’re all different, we all have something to contribute and we all have something to learn from each other. Scroll down for instructions:

Meanwhile, a few of us have had an interesting little debate over on another blog about the differences writing memoir and fiction. There are some fundamental differences between the two – a novel can be completely made up, whereas a memoir does come with an obligation to tell truths. An extrapolation of this is that working with fact is somehow not a particularly ‘free’ process. (These are my words and summation thus far. I hope it’s a discussion that continues because I love crawling up the backside of some stuff, many are too happy to take for granted. If you want to know more, pop over and see what we’ve been up to at Annecdotal)

However, one of the very reasons I’m writing my ‘big’ memoir is to get across how thinking outside of the box – which perhaps in times of great struggle is the true test of creativity and imagination – may have helped me get a grip on a terminal prognosis. In writing about it, I’m also discovering other things about myself and trying to differentiate what’s different about me, that others in similar situations may want to embrace. I didn’t intend for this Bite Size topic to go there when I sat down to write, but as anyone who writes anything discovers: from letters and journals to whole books, sometimes you don’t know where it’s going until you get there..


 

Here’s how you join in:

A REMINDER OF HOW THE BITE-SIZE MEMOIR CHALLENGE WORKS

  1. Each Friday I’ll suggest a topic by 2pm UK time (BST) via my blog and Twitter (using the hashtag  #BiteSizeMemoir  – You don’t need to be on Twitter to participate.)

2. The challenge will be to write about the topic using

either

10 x “I remember statements”

  or

150 x words (prose, or poem if you want to stretch yourself)

Either will make you pick and choose your words carefully whilst keeping a tight focus for time’s sake. You might want to write more, to keep at home, but please only submit one option within the limits for sharing (i.e. 10 statements or 150 word prose/poem)

3. The Deadline for sharing your ‘Bite’ will be 2pm (BST) the following Thursday. You can share in either of two ways:

a) Post your response in the comments section of the current topic – I will find it and cut and paste to the compilation of responses. (You may not see your comment appear immediately but don’t worry – I will find and share it)

or

b) If you have a blog you can post your response on your own blog with a link back to this post, and then also provide the link to me in the comments section. I will then link your contribution back to your post, in the compilation of responses.

4. It would be great if you felt able to include the country the events took place in – I won’t enforce this but I think it provides a significant context for other readers. As an example look at the compilation for “School at Seven”

5. I will aim to compile responses and share them via another post before the next challenge is issued.

 

A few rules:

    1. If you need or want to be anonymous that’s fine – When you post a comment just put ‘Anon’ or a nickname in the name field. It does ask for an email address as part of spam filtering but only I will see it.
    2. Please keep others anonymous to protect their privacy and dignity – change names or use initials etc.
    3. If you’ve got an axe to grind, please do it somewhere else.
    4. If you stumble across this after the deadline, do feel free to contribute and include your blog link in the comments section of the compilation, so others can read it.

Please remember to submit your Bite Size Memoir by 2pm (BST) Thursday 22nd May 2014. Have fun !

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