Style

So, You Want to Write Your Memoirs?

ShareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedIn

What woman doesn’t harbor the desire to write her memoirs? Hit the mid-century mark and you’ve logged enough comedy and tragedy to fill at least one volume. Yet staring down an empty page can be daunting. And how could you possibly remember and capture it accurately? That’s why we tapped Patricia Lewis, who’s been leading creative writing workshops in Western Massachusetts — and exotic locales around the globe — since 1992.

Her top tips:

  • Identify your arc. Choose a significant period, such as your sexual awakening or the hardship you overcame. “A memoir is about the significance of a central experience, rather than your whole life story,” Lewis says, noting that impact trumps information. “We read memoir for story, not facts. What happened, yes — but why did it matter?”
  • Trust your own truth. As an exercise, Lewis urges memoirists to jot down a “simple” one-sentence memory. Then make two lists: the first with five details you do remember (how old you were, what you wore, etc.) and the second with five details you don’t (how you got there, maybe, or what the weather was). Now, pen a piece informed by both lists, making up what you forgot. “Often you’ll remember as you write, but what’s more important is how it feels,” Lewis says. “Memoir is about emotional truth. If it feels true, it is.”
  • Be prepared! “Unless we skip the hard parts, writing about our lives is inevitably wrenching,” says Lewis, who “could barely breathe for weeping” when she began to write about the suicide of her son. “Often memories emerge that have for good reason been pushed into darkness. But I believe with Buddhists that, ‘The best way out is always through.’”

Ready, set…write!

Nina Malkin

NextTribe is offering a writing seminar of its own–at the BEACH! Plus yoga, photography and adventure. More details here.

 

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar

More Style

Curling Irony: Why the %&#! Won’t My Hair Behave?

ShareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedIn

 

Nothing like living over half a century with curly hair only to discover…you’re doing it wrong! That was my situation when I chatted with Michelle Breyer, co-founder of the website naturallycurly.com, which is a mecca of wisdom for those of us with decidedly un-straight hair.

> Read More

Fun Way to Cover Gray: Rainbow Roots

ShareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedIn

These days, gray is starting to creep through my hair. I know, I know: It’s a natural part of aging. But I just can’t embrace it, so please don’t waste your time lecturing me — I’m not ready to go all-the-way, Eileen-Fisher-model gray.

But I am bored silly with the usual process of covering up my roots. So instead of cursing them, I wondered if I should light up my life and turn my roots into a source of fun and joy. The possible answer: rainbow roots.

> Read More

Subscribe to the Tribe!

We will only use your email to send you a weekly digest of new stories posted on the site and occasionally to let you know about special events. But that’s it. Period. Cross our hearts.

Editor’s Picks