Add Some Spice to Your Memoirs

When it comes to preserving and telling life stories, I’ve found that there are two groups of people – those who have so much to say that they can’t wait to write a memoir, and those who know they should write a memoir but think they have nothing to say.  Secretly, they do want to share; they just don’t know how much they want to divulge, or in how much detail.

Do you fall into one of those categories?  A memoir or personal history doesn’t need to be overwhelming – it can be as simple as answering a few questions or giving some thought to an important period in your life.  You start with a few sentences and then find pictures of that time frame to refresh your memory and add some description.

For instance, I might write:  “I remember the street where I grew up in Winter Park, Florida. As a kid, living there was picture-perfect.”  That’s great.  But, does it show you anything?  Not really.  First… I want to start by actually pointing out what the houses on the street looked like, what the name of the street was, what cars I remember passing by.

I lived on Little John Road – yup… all Robin Hood names.  Didn’t that just add something to the sentence above, and craft a different picture in your mind?  Now, it’s in Florida, so you’re picturing palm trees, right?  During what time period did I live there?  The 60s and 70s.  What did houses in Florida look like back then?  Was it near the beach?  Suburban houses are different from beach houses.  Was there something special about the neighborhood – was there an abundance of pets, bikes in the yard, game-playing in the street? Start painting that picture of details, all of which can be done without altering the story.

Memoirs are wonderful to read – the more they can paint the picture to your readers of what your life was like, and more they’ll stick around wanting more.

 

Memoir Reader Recommendation of the Moment:  The Road South by Shelly Stewart (Thanks to L.N. for the loaner!)

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