Often we recall our lives as a quagmire of stale stories that have not been updated for years, maybe never, stories we have inherited, borrowed and contrived.
Here you'll find some useful tools and a safe space to let insight creep quietly to mind. You call them personal memoirs. I call them Yourself Only More So.
You will want to know the answer to this now. You have come this far. Hopefully you will stay another minute.
Put simply, a memoir is a memory manipulated in the telling so that it constitutes a story. In other words, something happens. But not everything. Everything is autobiography.
A memory is a memory. It sits in your mind either shelved or circling the airport home from distant travels but never landing. And you forgot to send postcards.
A memory shared is a memory shared.
A memory that goes from one psychological place to another is a story.
A shared memory-story is a memoir.
All of your shared stories put together are your memoirs, plural. Here, we take them one at a time.
The story of your life, all your memories, is an autobiography.
I'll show you.
When I was a child my family went ice skating on Sunday afternoons with our church friends. Once I was little enough that I was still skating on two blades. I saw my mother ahead of me, standing still and talking with friends. I skated up behind her and grabbed her at the knees. She fell on top of me. I was so angry.
That's a memory. That is so so so boring. While it seems that something happens, there is action, there is no change in the main character, me. A written memoir is a story and has to function as a story not because I said so but because you want people to care.
Imagine the story a little differently, a little stronger, a little more compelling.
And what happens? You made a decision about how to do that. Actually, you didn't. You just read on. ahead. You didn't think I meant you should really truly do something. But I did, and you will benefit from giving these suggestions a tryu.
Maybe I will reforma this and put the exerciese in a comumn on the side or at the end. That way you can completely ignore what I have to day, do one exericese, with no idea why you are doing it, decide the site is not worth it, and leave. Aha. No, I am too smart for you )ohly because I am a you as well as me, and I know how I behave:passively). Since you haven't done the work, after a bit I will do it for you, but maybe you can take ten minutes now and give it a whirl. If you like, here is an easier story, not a memoir exactly, but an inconic tale:
The Queen stood. The two repentenants were on their knewes, bowing. Off with their heads said the queen. Sit down, dear, said the king. Let's have a little chat about this , OK?
Try that one.
The decisions you made says something about you--that is insight, and that is why you fix the story up. Because you are sending it out to be read, you fix it up as best you can. And in doing that, in knowing that other people will have to read it and understand why you are telling this story, you discover what the real story is. Probably it's not what you thought it was before you put in the effort to make it sound good.
Sounding good is not for your ego. Telling a good story is revelatory, to you and to the people you address.
That is why we are here, why you might want to stay, and a bit about how.
This website might have my name on it, but it is about you not me. I also have a story to tell. You can read it in a free .pdf (also known as an e-book) which will soon be available by a link at the top of every page.
It is a story not of conquering but of surviving chronic illness in medical and social systems sadly unprepared to deal with it much less help. It is a story not of the best and worst of people, but of inertia, arrogance, stupidity and moments of great clarity and import. It is a story of occasional triumph in a lifelong experience of mediocrity and pointless effort on the part of everyone involved, including me. It is a story worth reading. And in the age of pandemic it is particularly good to remember that life will come back to complexity. Will we have learned anything? How is the past relevant to an uncertain present and a shrouded future? The 21st century is barreling down on us. Let's take a moment to breathe.
To protect you, this is my
My policy is unlike anything I have ever seen on the Internet, at least not for a long time. Not only do I not collect cookies, I don't keep your name or your email address. I don't maintain a list. I don't bombard you with passive income ads.
Should you choose to post your story, or parts of it, or thoughts about it, or make comments about the activity on the website (not on guests content) there will be no way from my end for anyone to discover who you are.
Use the contact page: questions, content, comments.
Should you email me directly, I will wipe your email to military standards.
If you need more anonymity, snail mail me at P.O. Box. (Honestly, I will only check the box every few weeks, since I don't anticipate it being used. If it is, I will pay more attention.).
Below I discuss my standards for acceptable content. I want to make it eminently clear, though, that anonymity as I have set it up, where your identity cannot be traced, is for the protection of victims or people merely sharing computers. I will not tolerate using it to cause harm, incite harm, detail how harm might be done, brag about harm, or plan harm, where harm is exactly what you think it is: illegal, unethical or simply obnoxious behavior. I want to emphasize the word legal in that sentence. I hold my contributors up to the highest standards of behavior and communication. We are here to listen and learn, for ourselves and each other.
No matter how you reach me, I will respond on the Questions and Answers page
or, if a longer answer is needed, in a blog post. Look and you will find it. If you have a question, other people do as well.
And what about comments? How do I maintain civility in a place of anonymity? How do I keep comments constructive and helpful?
I don't allow them. At all. Ever.
Later on I will tell you why.
Right now I am here to tell you
Anything you post is completely anonymous and no one will ever be allowed to comment on it.
How do you post? I use a blog format for convenience, but this is not a blog. You will post what you have to say as a guest blogger, so to speak. You send your material. I check it for decency and fair play, and I post it unaltered or not at all.
Standards for acceptability are not unusual: no sideways comments about other people's work, no hate language toward any individual or group, no sexual content which exploits any individuals or groups, especially children, no incitement to violence or crime, no pornography, As part of memoirs, strong language and circumstances which would be considered violent, abusive, or hateful are acceptable if the circumstances are clearly in the past and the purpose of the memoir is transformative not inflammatory. How to handle delicate situations appropriately will be discussed later. Submissions violating these standards, commonly accepted rules of decency, federal state or local law or at my whim and discretion without explanation, will be rejected. Once rejected, there is no recourse, personal or legal, to have your work published unchanged. If I am able to perceive repeated violations I will ban that participant from further submissions. If anyone active on this site sees in social media such inappropriate conduct connected to this site, notify me. If appropriate I will file complaints according to the rules of that social media site. My filing a complaint does not diminish your right to also file a complaint(s).
Posts do not reflect my personal opinions but those of the person submitting the work.
These guidelines can be changed at any timewithout notifying you.
In another section I will suggest ways to send us material anonymously on your end. These methods are far from foolproof, but they are unbreakable by any reasonable standard. And if there is any reason you have to have complete safety, you can snail mail a handwritten post to (po box), or you can email from a library or other public computer.
Your story is interesting and important to you. So it is interesting and important to others..
But more about sharing later.
Please note: This is important.
I cannot stop reposting onto other sites. However, reposts cannot be traced back to you.
Creators of material posted on this site retain all rights. As such they can pursue legal or other recourse against anyone who claims the work to be theirs. As I do not own the rights to your published work, I cannot be held liable, legally or otherwise, for violations of your rights to your own work.
There are simple methods that will establish your ownership of your creative work which do not require you identifying yourself on this site. This will be covered later.
Always publish on the Internet with caution.
These policies will be reviewed by a lawyer in the near future and any changes made will be retroactive to the date of the site going live, February 26, 2021.
I hold my contributors up to the highest standards of behavior and communication. We are here to listen and learn, for ourselves and each other.
A memoir is a small slice of your life, or a big chunk. Great parts of your life have to be left out. Don't feel guilty. You can disguise your father as the wise or petty janitor. Write the memoir right and don't feel guilty or responsible to The Truth.
The beginning, obviously. But what is the beginning? I don't know. It's th epart that comes before the middle. The beginning, by the usual definition, is the point at which something changes, and that change drives the story. It creates a situation that the main character has to deal with that he/she/they/it did not have to deal with before (I am not saying, by the way, that it is a gender. I am saying a thing or an idea can be the main character, although that is a tough write and a tougher read). In memoir, especially, that moment that starts your story is hard to identify. So, what do you do? Shart anywhere.
there are so many questions to be answered and problems to be solved when you start, whether in your head or on paper, that it is best to let the beginning fine itselfas you think or write along. Whereever you are, whatever you know already is where you start to work. It's not where your finished piece wwill start, maybe.