Writing a healing memoir
Have you ever wanted to write your life story or memoir, but stopped, staring blankly at the page in front of you. Full of doubts you put your pen away and carry on with your life.
What if you took the bold step of exploring you and your life and could discover how to tell your story? Would you be tempted?
What if you could get your story out and heal your wounds, be in control and confident. Would you want to take that step?
You and I share a few things in common, I knew I had a story and it was time to let go and heal, I just couldn’t figure out how to write it, couldn’t decide if I wanted to share it, I was scared to expose myself, not to others but to myself and I didn’t know where to start.
So I just started. Writing my memoir opened up old wounds, which needed exorcising, I became emotional, angry and wanted to give up.
I set out to research my story from my own memory, professional knowledge and through books (mostly psychology), to also learn the craft of writing and by trying to apply it to my writing for both memoir and for a novel.
In doing all of this work, I was able to create a short healing memoir. I say healing because the book Dancing with Dark Angels was a stepping stone from the past to the future. Without the exorcising of my soul I wouldn’t have the outline of a long dreamt of novel.
Every time I wrote my novel it was about my life. I would weave in the nasty ones and they came to some rather delicious nasty ends, but it wasn’t the story I wanted to tell. It felt stunted and not a true expression of the far out adventure that was waiting to escape.
If you are at a point in your life where you feel that you need to let go of the past, so that you can step into a brighter future, writing will help you, more importantly a healing memoir will change your life
I wont lie, none of my early writing was easy. I have cried and cried as I have journaled. Equally I have screamed with hysterical laughter when I have read my creative life stories and plotted the demise of others who I felt had hurt me. Every time I write about memoir, I open up wounds, I look around me and ponder the lives of those close to me and their pain.
Through all of my journalling, reflecting and short story writing, I never expected to reach into a pit of hell, I thought I was ok to tackle big subjects – me. Writing led me into a vipers nest where I rested letting the poison spread. One day with heavy heart and all of my tears shed for what was and knowing that this was just part of the healing process, I carried on. As I continued, the pain in my chest eased and the path ahead began to shine. I felt more at peace with myself.
Writing is a journey with your soul, memoir can and does heal. Everyone who writes memoir does at some level do so, to move on. You may be writing about an adventure, a crisis, a life changing event or a single fleeting moment in time, but in the setting out of the story you are connecting to you at a deeper level.
Our soul encased in this body, trapped by our minds needs an escape, memoir is that escape and equally safe passage into a new life. It is meant to be a cathartic end and a step into the brilliant light that waits to take you on the next part of the journey.
This body, the one I am in charge of, is like your car, a series of interconnected systems, housed in a funny shell, that I have chosen to look after, and serves to transport the soul on its trip to Earth. Like the car, I haven’t quite looked after, my creature, I’ve abused the vehicle in so many ways, it’s a wonder it hasn’t jumped ship and found a fresher newer model to lounge around it. Is there then a reason why it hangs out with me? My own memoirs and stories explores just that.
So the soul….. what is it?
In my humble opinion. It is the powerhouse, the electricity source, the all knowing pulsating thing that is you. It has a personality, intelligence, feelings, will, desire, an identity and a mission on this journey. Possibly a few other things, you can add yours to the list.
And the journey?
That’s your life, explore it, relish it, lay it out, write and write and write. Forget what others say, trust the process and write your healing memoir.
I don’t know, where life begins or ends, or how many universes there are in a goobiverse (I made it up, why not all of the planets have made up names) or where infinity stretches out to, if there is life somewhere else, or if we are controlled from a space ship, or if there is really a soul place?
And if I did know, would it make a difference to this life and this journey? Would I still have to undertake this task? Do I need to understand why? Who knows?
What I do know is that putting pen to paper is magical and writing a healing memoir has the power to carry you forward, sometimes gently and sometimes kicking and screaming – no one said it was easy…
Whenever I write deeply it is as if that stuff never really happened, it cleanses my palette and refreshes my bits.
Many people write that memoir shouldn’t be indulgent, that it shouldn’t be you blethering on about your vaguely uninteresting life, that it should be a well craft window to your life, like a novel, only true. I believe that your memoir can be dual purpose. In the first instance your first draft is the healing part and if (and I say if) you want it to become a sales piece then you edit it with a publishers eye.
Do not be put off by the snobs who say you can’t – you can and should – it’s your pen, your journey and your souls desire to help you to move to the next delicious adventure.
I have one hope from short blog and that it will help you to get off your bum and write your memoir, even be tempted to write a novel but most importantly embrace the cathartic process of writing and begin to heal old wounds.