I love this. Abigail Thomas has a thoughtful piece in AARP The Magazine on writing a memoir, saying, “To write a memoir, cultivate the habit of listening to yourself.” Not only does she talk about her own personal journey towards and through memoir-writing, but gives us inspirational advice on how to tune into our inner writer, step by step. One snippet I like:
Writing is the way I ground myself, what keeps me sane. Writing is the way I try to make sense of my life, try to find meaning in accident, reasons why what happens happens–even though I know that why is a distraction, and meaning you have to cobble together yourself.
Sometimes just holding a pen in my hand and writing milk butter eggs sugar calms me. Truth is what I’m ultimately after–truth or clarity. I think truth’s what we’re all after, although I’d never have said such a thing when I was young. Writing memoir is a way to figure out who you used to be and how you got to be who you are.
She reminds us that a memoir isn’t a journal of who you are, but how you got to where and who you are; in other words – the story behind it. After all, everyone has a story to tell.