Bite Size Memoir is taking a break! The summer is a hectic time for many of us and I’m having a doozy of a time this year. Rather than do a bad or minimal job of managing your wonderful and personal contributions, I’ve decided it would be better to take a few weeks off whilst I take my own summer holiday, run myself ragged with the teenage taxi and a whole host of other ‘stuff’ too mundane to mention.
Meanwhile if you have time yourself over the next few weeks to muse on a few things, I would be interested to hear ideas and suggestions on anything related to Bite Size Memoir including:
1. How do you think it has been so far?
-What have you liked most / found easiest ?
-What have you liked least / found hardest ?
2. Are there suggestions you would like to make?
-Are the prompts recovering interesting memories for you?
-What do you think of the current constraints? (150 words etc)
-What topics are you itching most to get to?
3. How well does the weekly frequency suit you?
-Would you rather more/less commitment?
-Would fortnightly ruin your rhythm?
-Would the occasional ‘photo only’ post (Prompts like for example “My Worst Hair”) work for you?
If it helps you think about what I hoped we might achieve here you might want to go back and read my original intentions and also consider the few thoughts and quotes below. If you’re new here and have stumbled upon my blog hoping to join in, here’s a round up of the topics we’ve covered so far: School at Seven, Jinks and Japes, Magic and Fairy Tales, Sports Day, Camping, First Jobs, Childhood Illness, Dressing Up, Cycling, 10 out of 10 and Holiday Reads
So, what is memoir?
“Memoir (from French: mémoire: memoria, meaning memory or reminiscence), is a literary nonfiction genre. More specifically, it is a collection of memories that an individual writes about moments or events, both public or private that took place in the author’s life. The assertions made in the work are understood to be factual. While memoir has historically been defined as a subcategory of autobiography since the late 20th century, the genre is differentiated in form, presenting a narrowed focus. Like most autobiographies, memoirs are written from the first-person point of view. An autobiography tells the story of a life, while memoir tells a story from a life, such as touchstone events and turning points from the author’s life.” (source Wikipedia)
It is my view that good memoir therefore tells a ‘story from a life’ with all the associated human factors. Of course there may be reason to edit, soften or avoid a few elements but to be able to lend the reader your experience – to enable them to perhaps step into your shoes or at least ry them on for size – one must explore or show the emotions and thought that accompany the story of that life.
It seems others might agree:
“A memoir forces me to stop and remember carefully. It is an exercise in truth. In a memoir, I look at myself, my life, and the people I love the most in the mirror of the blank screen. In a memoir, feelings are more important than facts, and to write honestly, I have to confront my demons.” – Isabel Allende
“By definition, memoir demands a certain degree of introspection and self-disclosure: In order to fully engage a reader, the narrator has to make herself known, has to allow her own self-awareness to inform the events she describes.” – Caroline Knapp
“I think many people need, even require, a narrative version of their life. I seem to be one of them. Writing memoir is, in some ways, a work of wholeness.” – Sue Monk Kidd
One of the most challenging aspects of writing a memoir is finding your own voice, and you should be very careful about being influenced by someone else’s voice. – Jeannette Walls