I have to be honest. I’m keeping it rather light and airy here lately because my memoir writing assignments are heavy-duty introspection. Sometimes the words that pour out of me are even dark and just plain too personal for public viewing just yet. Even if I am not actually writing down sentences, the task at hand scratches and pulls up scabs. The wounds re-bleed and open up new areas of raw emotion so you can write about it as if you were back in that moment of pain, remorse or sadness. It’s all an exercise in exorcism. At least, that’s what the course is doing for me. It stirs up trouble, conflict and unresolved issues that I could have sworn I had forgiven, forgotten or had moved on from. Without having physically written a line.
But mostly, it bubbles up a sense of loss, nostalgia and it creates a mental environment infused with flashbacks. It’s bittersweet when you remember something funny, tender or heart warming. It can feel exposed, fresh and new again in a new way. Sometimes what pops up is something I would have rather had still hidden, covered under a fluffy, comfy blanket of amnesia. Or as simple as saying under my breath, “let’s just gloss over this.” What you discover as you write memoir is not always the picture of a well-balanced family in good mental health. And no family is immune to this. The jewels are the comical or humorous passages that allude to a survivor’s story, in hindsight. The hero/heroine is yourself.
This writing class is designed to ask yourself- unasked questions about your past. You gotta dig deep. It makes you ponder and teaches you how to describe an event, a scene or a moment in your life. You get to re-live it so you can get it down on the page. It can be hellacious. It can be cathartic. But it will always feel like an extraordinary journey.
So, if you are reading my posts lately and wondering why I’m inserting a lot of photographs (which I kinda…um really like) or if you sense I am writing on escapist subjects in a daydream kind of way or seemingly trite, it’s because I need to empty my brain out after pouring my heart into my memoir writing class.
Plus, I have less time to dedicate.
Let’s hope for some decent storytelling. Wish me luck.