Writing memoir

Writing Memoir doesn’t mean ‘tell all’

Writing memoir about living people does come with some rules and even warning signs.

We live in a litigious society and whilst people may tolerate family jokes about their quirks and rare moments of inappropriate behaviours, they may not like these instances immortalised in a family story album. Words on a page are unforgiving and a reader may set in their mind-stone facts that are incidental and not true to the person’s nature or life story.

Quirky behaviour
Quirky Behaviour makes you unique

Everyone has moments of indiscretion or behaviours outside of their true nature or perhaps their quirky nature is what makes them unique.  A former friend of mine filled his waking hours telling stories of other people’s odd behaviours and life moments, thus ensuring that person earned a reputation for being inappropriate or an odd-ball. This former friend eventually earned himself a poor reputation. Similarly, writing memoir from a disposition of negativity, anger or criticism can lead to your work being dismissed which is not what you intend. It can also leave you vulnerable to legal action.

Telling your Truth

Writing memoir is about telling your truth as you perceive it; however, a wise and responsible writer will firstly explore their perspective with insight and humanity. Writing memoir is often tempered by the unleashing of emotion whether it be anger, joy, grief or happiness. Making a distinction between the expression of words reflecting a focused writer connecting readers to the rich tapestry of their life and family history and the undisciplined drainage of harsh and critical negative views is the hallmark of a quality life story writer and memoirist.Continue Reading

Dementia and Life Story. A rewarding project

Dementia and Life Story can be a union that produces a wonderful family legacy. Whilst there is a lesson to be learned from obtaining the life stories of our loved ones before the onset of age and symptoms that may be associated with a decline in memory, understanding the phenomenon can help elicit communication that will be a wonderful life story.

Life Story and Dementia
A Life Story and Dementia can be a powerful union

A Salad of Information

Communication is more than the spoken word. Successful understanding and communication happens when we not only listen, but stay in the moment with the loved one and be ready to be where they are in their story telling. This salad of information can be documented as it emerged or reorganised to create a flowing narrative. Some may consider that this salad of ideas and concepts a wonderful representation of their loved one and seize as many opportunities as possible to capture experiences still stored in their mind. There is no right or wrong in either of these outcomes.Continue Reading

Be known as the family storyteller

Having a storyteller in the family is something future generations will be ever so thankful for.

If this is you, telling a life story and leaving it in a permanent format for others to know and reflect upon, is something that you will never regret. It is the most valuable legacy you can leave your family and is priceless. Photographs are wonderful but they do not tell the whole story and sometimes leave more questions than answers.

You can never know the difference family information will make to people’s lives not only in appreciating their heritage but also understanding the DNA of their personality, character, and relationships.Continue Reading

Photos and words make your memoir powerful

memoir
Photos and words together are powerful

Is a photo worth a thousand words? Apparently not – that is unless you interact with the photos rather than just accumulate boxes of them under your bed or in a digital file somewhere. Photos and words make your memoir powerful and the story of who you are clear and memorable.

Relying on technology to record an event can detract from the experience and so the personal memory-formation of an event[i]. Emotion has a powerful impact on our memory.  We recall events that have meaning for us in some way. It is a way of holding onto what we consider significant moments in our lives.  Reflecting on a photo will help bring those memories forward although sometimes a photograph can affect our recall as well.

A group photo came to life recently of family members forty years younger. One family member was partially hidden behind someone else. Three people claimed the identify of that lone little body; and tempers did fly a little in the process. The matter was settled when one party drew attention to other details in the photo and gave them context.

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