Yesterday, on a whim, I searched for my book in the local library and noticed it was checked out. It was a strange feeling. Someone was reading the most intimate, traumatic experiences in my life. At first I felt giddy with pride. My book that was my jailer and my addiction; that made my soul both soar and bleed was worthy to be in the public domain. My life which I had kept in a toxic Pandora’s box was let out like a bunch of balloons, never to be locked inside again. Now, I am at peace with that thought. Yet, before you write that memoir, and I assume your memoir is written with truth and some pain, do some soul-searching. If you are not ready to be unmasked in a sometimes harsh light you are not ready..
Memoir’s are written for many reasons and most of those reasons are personal. We write because writing heals and soothes. We write because it is in our DNA to create in this way and we write to announce that we matter, that our lives made a difference on the planet while we inhabited it. But there are repercussions to ponder before you attempt this most personal type of writing. First, are you writing to get revenge on those who wronged you?. It will not work. Are you writing to show the world how other people and circumstances forced you to do certain things both good and bad.? It will not touch anyone. Are you writing to blame, get pity,convince, or brag?. It will backfire. Are you writing because you have a story and it must be told?. Now you are on the right track.
Before you write that memoir, make sure some time has passed so you can look at your life from a distance. Write with passion, but not passion for yourself. See the humor in some of the heartache. It will help make your memoir less pitiful even if your life was Misery Inc… Talk to your husband, lover or kids and tell them that your life and some of theirs will be exposed.Hopefully you kept their personal stories at a distance from your memoir unless their part of your story is vital to reveal. I tried to keep my story just mine, but sometimes I couldn’t. If they refuse to read it, accept it. My children can’t or won’t read my memoir. I understand my new attitude and acceptance of my past is mine alone and doesn’t necessarily mean that they are happy for me to reveal myself so thoroughly and unflinchingly. If you care too much how others, even your family will judge you, you are not ready to write a memoir.
Most of all write a memoir because you know you can write a book that is meaningful, and might help someone who is in a similar circumstance. But if you don’t write it well, it won’t get read, and that is why we write, to touch others with our words, to have a memoir that screams, “Don’t put me down” I hope that the stranger who took my book out of the library feels that while reading “From Agoraphobia to Zen”. . I love that person..