I just returned from the wonderful National Association of Poetry conference in Washington DC, and want to invite writers to include poetry more as they write, heal, and reflect on the important moments of your lives.
At the conference, I taught a Spiritual Memoir workshop called “Moments of Being” named for the amazing book of collected memoir pieces by Virginia Woolf. In 1922, Virginia Woolf stood up in front of friends and colleagues and discussed the sexual abuse she had suffered by her half-brother George Duckworth, as well as other happier memories, some of which formed the basis for her book To the Lighthouse. In those days, and in London especially, this was a bold and brave act. She writes not only of this darkness in her life, but dares to write deeper truths about her father and other family members in ways they would not have approved of. By the time she wrote the memoir pieces, some members of her family had died, which perhaps gave her permission.
During my workshop, I encouraged everyone to come up with a “Turning Point List” of events that were significant in a deeply emotional or spiritual way, and then to write one of those stories. I also talked with the group about plotting their turning points on a timeline so they could visually locate when these events happened.
Suggestion: Write a list of 10-20 turning points, moments of being, moments of significance in your life. Then each week, choose 2-4 of those moments and write about them. Soon, you will have written what could be the spine of your memoir. Writing even just 20 minutes at a time helps you to get your memoir written!
Be Brave–Write your Story