Today in my second post on the topic of Write Your Memoir and Still Go Home for the Holidays, I want to focus on the topic of truth.
Memoir writing, especially in this post James Frey age, is about writing the truth as we know and experience it, yet we become worried about “truth”—what is it? Who defines it? How can we handle it in our memoir?
When we choose to write a memoir, we dive into the rivers of memory for our version of what happened, to remember our own experiences and tell them as accurately as we can, adhering to the basic truths of our experience. Yet competing voices interfere with our process of writing our truths, from the inner critic to the family. And we worry about the veracity of our memory. Dare we tell our truth? Do we even know what it is?
Most memoir writers struggle with “truth” in its various forms, whether it means expressing the difficult truths, admitting the truth to themselves, or putting it on the page for others to read. In this workshop we will investigate truth—and you will have a chance to express your doubts, worries and questions about the subject of truth on your journey to writing a memoir.
Some of the questions memoir writers ask:
What if the family does not agree with my truth? Who’s right when it comes to family events? How can I keep family and friends from getting angry at my truths? Can someone sue me for telling my truth?
Because I’m not an attorney, I can’t advise you on the legal issues, but I can talk with you about your questions about writing your truths, which can be a stumbling block.
In my upcoming telephone-based workshop at NAMW, one of the sessions will focus specifically on family dynamics, which interlock with the issue of truth. In this session, we will talk about what gets in the way for you and come up with ways for you to proceed despite your voices of doubt.
We will leave the line open so you can talk about the questions you have about your own truths, and what gets in the way of you writing your memoir with full commitment and energy. I hope you can join me.
There will always be multiple versions, “interpretations” as Will Durant would say, of life. There’s “what happened,” and then there’s “what we make of it,” the interpretation. The mind stores both–fact and interpretaion. The pen is like a shovel, allowing the writer to excavate the layers of initial understanding to expose the facts so that we can examine and assess them in the bright light of enlightened adult cognition. Exercising Free Will, we then assign whatever meaning we choose to this precious ore. What we make of our history, our interpretation, can have a great effect on the quality of our lives and the lives of others. It can lead to enlightenment, healing forgiveness and freedom from toxic repressed fear and anxiety. The excavation requires effort, but there can be handsome, lasting rewards.
We can dig or we can let the grass grow.