Posted by: marilynmendoza | October 6, 2011

Part 2 of how to write a memoir that doesn’t suck

What is a memoir?. It has been said Memoir is the intersection of memory, intent and language.  I think the more valuable tool you have  is words. Words are how you show all of the other three. It is part of language but more than that.  I started writing as a way of healing from severe anxiety. I wrote a diary, a journal, then poetry.Wrting poetry has helped me the most in writing a memoir that doesn’t suck.

The way you put together words shows the utmost respect for your reader. Choosing the best words to present your memoir is to me the most important step in writing memoir besides having a structured, interesting story to tell. In fact, if you don’t use the least amount of words to convey your story, you risk the reader losing interest. Words are your sword. You must swing your sword to wipe away the words that don’t make your memoir better,Faulkner says “You must kill your darlings”, that means to me if you are writing for yourself and using words that sound good to you but do nothing to advance and beatify you story you must kill those words. There is beauty in brevity. But to be brief is harder than just writing ,writing and more writing.  You must sit at that desk and swing that sword until you your memoir shines with brevity and sense.

To end this not brief enough essay, I will say that you write first,  then you take the words and make it into something beautiful and you use words to do this. You must be a poet, you must be brave and you must be ready to wield that sword.  Good luck.   I’ll end with a poem I wrote that shows how words conveyed my pain in a moment of beauty  Aloha!

                                                         15 Kilos  (pounds in American English)


These 15 kilos that melted off my curvy Latina body

are lying in a pool of kaleidoscope pain by your feet

If we were still making love, my hip bones would collide with yours

clanging like temple gongs announcing the death of love

These 15 kilos that were the protection of my feelings

are gone into the dark night where hope resided

I don’t recognize this shape of mine that held your

earthly form deep into instinctive memory

These 15 kilos left me as you did, quickly without notice. How can you notice such a minor thing when a pointed sword tears you to pieces?

You were the judge and jury denying the right of an appeal

Vaguely non-committal even during the execution,

These 15 kilos, now gone, leave a skeletal form like the hollow of my neck in the mirror,

accusing you of forgetting what we were

in the land of the rising sun



  1. Hi Mailyn,

    Very nicely done.! I am so impressed with how far you’ve come in such a short time. You’re on a roll–keep it going.

    Aloha, Micki

  2. Hi Marilyn,

    second try at posting!! very nicely done. I am so impresssed with how fast you have moved up into the world of publishing. You’re on a roll–keep on rolling!!



  3. Like your use of words and the messsages they share. Thanks!

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