This may be a strange compound question from me, as I have been capturing a story of my own for a few years. I think I’ve figured out a little more about why they are written, they seem to be therapeutic for the writer. In my case it just happened. Loss cracked me open and the words came out. I started smearing these memories on paper and while watching them dry I found that preservation made me feel little better. Discovery became compulsion and grew. The spirit of my dog led me down this new path and I just kept going…
Why do people want to read Memoir?
Often I wonder why do strangers read other people’s life stories. Many are tragic and share deeply painful moments. Are readers looking for a similar experience while hoping to gain some insight? Find hope? Learn something? Follow someone back from an edge? Does a common thread need to pull them together?
For me these questions will hang on lines – like yesterday’s laundry in today’s rain, waiting for tomorrow.
An excerpt from the book “Pack of Two” by Caroline Knapp ( June 1999) was the homework for discussion a few months ago at the weekly gathering of writer’s that I hangout with. I didn’t care for it. It is a story about humans and dogs, so that was a bit of a surprise. After a few weeks I decided that I should read the book, give it an honest chance and if nothing else figure out why it didn’t appeal to me. As I began reading it, I started liking it a little better and then later not so much. At times this book feels like it was a project, get a dog and write about the experiences. She constantly delves into why people love dogs by quoting many studies and other books, so plenty of research had be done. Discussion’s with many other dog people and their experiences fill about another third. Perhaps a book full of trying to understand the bond with people and dogs is too much, maybe it is as simple we trust the love of a dog because we know they won’t drop it and walk away. Could it be that learning to write Memoir has (finally) made me want to see more scenes and less telling? Am I too independent to be concerned with the opinions of other’s as to why I love my dog? Despite not really liking the book – I read it anyway (a first).
Will this experience make me a better writer – time will tell.
My grandma was a one room live-in school teacher, before starting a family. She loved literature (more than the rest of us) her whole life.
I sometimes read my stuff outloud to her at the Fall City cemetery.
I don’t really think that she’s there, but it feels like she’s listening.