A quick thought……………

Cover of "Thinking About Memoir (AARP)"

Cover of Thinking About Memoir (AARP)

I opened one of my favourite books, and chose a passage at random. It is from Abigail Thomas’ “Thinking About Memoir”, and if you have not read this little book yet–treat yourself. Here is the passage:

“Living is said to be an art, and like any art it must be practiced with diligence (to paraphrase Dr. Johnson) before it can be done with ease. There is nothing we do in our everyday lives that could not be done with greater understanding.

Very few learned this while still young. Most of us spent the first half or more of our lives trying to provide for our families and ourselves. It’s only in the later, latter half that the questions come: What must I do, how shall I live, what difference will my life have meant when I have come to its end?”

I am in that latter half and I am asking those questions. A life examined is a life revealed and learned from. I do not want to repeat my mistakes. I want to make new ones.

How about you?

Published in: on September 18, 2013 at 1:52 pm  Comments (25)  
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Cover of "Thinking About Memoir (AARP)"

Cover of Thinking About Memoir (AARP)

Memories: recollections, reminiscences, remembrances. So many of us have been talking about our memories of Christmas past,  but do we trust our memories? Are they faithful to what really happened, or coloured by our particular rose-coloured glasses or half empty attitudes?

Abigail Thomas says this about memories in her book, “Thinking About Memoir”: “Memory seems to be an independent creature inspired by event, not faithful to it. Maybe memory is what the mind does with its free time, decorating itself. Maybe it’s like cave paintings. The thing is, I’m old enough now to know that the past is every bit as unpredictable as the future, and that memory, mine anyway, is not a faithful record of anything, and truth is not an absolute.”

Ms. Thomas describes the way I remember things. I know this because when I talk to my siblings about events that took place in our collective childhoods, we all remember things differently. I remember details that they did not notice and they remember things I do not. Sometimes it seems we were not even  at the same event, but we were all there. Of course, I think I am right—but I am not. My memories are tinted by my personality and by what I want to remember.

Maybe Memories

Maybe Memories (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being in the same place at the same time and having a totally different recollection of the event is not all that surprising. Perception affects memory, altering it from the truth to perhaps something more palatable.

What do you think?

Published in: on December 28, 2012 at 3:07 am  Comments (53)  
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Quote{s} of the Day # 5

English: Studies in Classic American Literature

English: Studies in Classic American Literature (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Three for Sunday, July 29, 2012:

“The memoir is literally the shape you give to the past, but how might an understanding of the past shape the future?”  ~  Laura Kalkakian, The Memoir Club: a novel

“Life is like an impromptu recipe~you make the best out of what ingredients you have on hand.” ~ Laura Kalkakian, American Cookery: a novel

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life… It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”  ~ Melody Beattie, an American author

Published in: on July 29, 2012 at 12:57 pm  Comments (12)  
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Day 6 ~ 200 Words

I have considered writing a memoir, but then I think: who would read it? I am about as interesting as the next person, but do I really want to share my “interesting” parts with the world?

Lucky (memoir)

Lucky (memoir) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the book, “Writing and Selling Your Memoir”, Paula Balzer says: “If there is anything that can be learned from the reading and writing of memoir, it’s this. Life is complicated. It isn’t neat—and it certainly doesn’t always show humanity at its best. But memoir is also where we see the human spirit surviving,…”.

My problem with writing a memoir is the telling (or bloodletting) of the whole unvarnished truth. Joyce Maynard says that “the truth is not always a comfortable thing to look at squarely.” Ya think?

I have come up with a way to write a memoir that would be truthful and intriguing: write it in passages of 200 words. 200 words for grade one; 200 words for your wedding day; 200 words for the birth of your child; 200 words for turning 39 for the 20th time. In so sharing, you would be sharing the human experience—without all the boring bits.

What do you think? Can you truthfully show the “human spirit surviving” in 200 word capsules?

Published in: on July 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm  Comments (50)  
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