Memoirs come from someplace deep inside us, private travel to an unknown land. I wrote a memoir when I became outraged concerning treatment of my best friend, who spent her life in mental institutions. My story grew into a lengthy saga. I’ve read and heard other people’s memoirs, and the genre has a similar quality quite different from a novel. Memoirs relive real situations and relationships, and we can see ourselves from another viewpoint. As one writer put it, “ I write because it isn’t there.”
Words appear on paper, and trigger the past. A friend confided, “ I write because I must.” It helps to have an audience when we revisit time, decisions, and outcomes again.
Decades ago, I watched my six year-old brother play army by himself in our living room. He upturned our Japanese coffee table for a barrier to shoot his enemy, and pretended to get shot. He paused long enough to apply a pretend band aid over his eye before shooting again. I watched him from across the room, and got into his game, seeing what he saw, and responding when he got shot. I was with him. Writing the memoir puts me back there.
Writing provides us a sense of immortality. Photographs and recording devices have changed the way we preserve memoir, but communicating processes, reading, writing, listening and speaking give us choices.
Thank you for reading my words! My brother has been dead over forty five years. I won’t always be breathing either, but my words remain frozen in sound-symbols.