Posted by: marilynmendoza | November 7, 2011

Why writing prose, slams and poetry helped me write my memoir

There is a  Filipino saying I learned in Manila. “Don’t carry your own chair”  I take this to mean that you shouldn’t praise yourself. I agree in that there are many braggart’s and self promoters in the world. But if you don’t promote or share will someone else carry your chair? Forgive the bad rhyme but there is a method to my madness (cliché by the way) but I believe being a poet (oh how I hated to say this in the past) helped me write my memoir.

Ok, why?,you ask.  Words are vital to the poet. Each one must work in a thousand ways. So you must be frugal. Writing less but better words helps your writing in general. Also, poetic words elevates your writing to a thing of beauty. You don’t have to go on and on about one incident when you have a few choice words or as we said in Brooklyn chorce words.  Words are  magic and spiritual. If you use bad ones or wrong ones or too many it takes away from your message.

Not only did my poetry help me in the initial writing process but it helped me with the editing. I instinctively knew when a word was not going to punch, touch or reach my reader. I knew how to use my words to convey my message and I knew how to structure my book in a way that was not boring. Being boring is the worst thing you can be to your reader. You love your story whatever it is but if you love your story too much or are too close to your story, you risk coming off as arrogant or sorry for yourself. This is not a good way to come off in your book.  Using poetic metaphors gets to the meat of your story. It takes out the unwanted and unneeded and leaves the story pure and clear., Clarity is truth and truth is clarity. So, in defense of carrying my own chair, I will end with another Filipino saying. Kung di ukol, di bubukol
If it is not relevant, it makes no difference   





  1. Enjoying your book–we have a lot in common! 🙂

    • Thank you ConnieD. I thought so too. Aloha

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