Tag Archives: memories

Memoir: From Reality to Reality

Laughing Penguins

A memoir is often seen as a single-dimensional ‘truth’ about a writer, the writer’s self-expression or confession. A memoir, in in fact, is the writer’s perception of truth, and her need to express that perception in her chosen format.

And so, a memoir is the writer’s journey from reality of lived experience to the reality of ‘worded’ impressions.

There are things in a writer’s life that present themselves unasked, uninvited, right there at her desk; then there are moments that demand the writer’s focused attention to reveal themselves; finally there are faraway wraiths of memories that desperately seek writerly resolve, and vital emotional effort to divulge their core and deepest essence. This is the truth; so is that; and so is that.

On the other side, a reader of a memoir fixes her gaze on a single familiar face: this is what she thought, this is where she ate and…

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The importance of Memoir–capturing memories through writing

Reading and Writing in the Middle

“A memoir,” says Gore Vidal, “is how one remembers one’s own life, while an autobiography is history, requiring research, dates, facts double-checked. In a memoir it isn’t the end of the world if your memory tricks you and your dates are off by a week or a month as long as you honestly try to tell the truth” (Palimpsest: A Memoir, 1995).

I like to use this Vidal quote as I try to explain the critical concept of “voice” in memoir to my students. I, of course, use examples, from picture books (that “show”in 30 pages or less, fine examples of memoir writing), to excerpts from other sources.

I also like to clarify the differences between memoir and autobiography through providing some take of the following scenario: You and your sister are having coffee in a cafe and in walks a lady who has a striking resemblance…

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