There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth. Maya Angelou Truth
I had an autobiography. I wanted a memoir.
After years of chronicling my life experiences from girlhood to teens to adulthood, I had an autobiography. However, “One’s autobiography does not a memoir make!” I proclaimed in my essay, “I Called You a Memoir” published in the Magic of Memoir. I shared what I most remembered from my girlhood–white anklet socked feet fitting snuggly in red Mary Janes, wearing a navy dress, patterned in tiny white polka dots with an appliqué of paint brushes and an artist’s palette in primary colors at the hem–while posing for a photo on my first day of kindergarten. And I remembered marking my teen years with shaving my legs and applying makeup while undisturbed in the private confines of the upstairs bathroom. I accepted my adulthood in college, my first job at Leo Burnett advertising and subsequent jobs in advertising before moving on to work…
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(Or: The glue that holds your Memoir together)
Licence to use obtained – Copyright: gmm2000 / 123RF Stock Photo
Not everyone writes their memoir in a chronological order. Often, we write as we remember. But once we’ve written some or all of the chapters of our lives, we find ourselves with a puzzle. What we have is a bunch of stories without a main thread tying them together into one journey.
How to put some order on the disorder? Make a single narrative out of the wonderful chaos of our memories?
Here are 6 tips to help you transform what you’ve written into one story — the powerful story of your remarkable life.
1: My first suggestion: Leave it, then Re-read it. This time, you’re looking for the theme/s and progression of your story. Try this process:
- Put the manuscript aside; leave it alone for some days.
- Now reread,
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Comedy Central Daily Show Host, Trevor Noah, 33, details his childhood in South Africa, first under the despotism of apartheid and then after. The son of a white father and a black mother, Noah was born a crime since race mixing was, at the time, illegal. Light-skinned, he never fit comfortably into any racial mold. This book is more a paean to his mother than anything else. Fiercely religious and a strict disciplinarian, she refused to accept the status quo and made sure he had books and an education. Though admirable, his mother had problems which culminated in her being shot by an angry ex-husband. She survived, but the ex-husband walked with three years probation since police in South Africa routinely make light of domestic abuse. Equally chilling are the racial incidents Noah describes like being stopped by cops who took him and his friends to jail for no reason…
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