I’d like to talk a little about how I got into memoir writing, and why I’m so passionate about it. Sort of a memoir manifesto, if you will.
I’m one of those writers who’s been writing since they can remember. A poem here, a story there. I started keeping journals when I was six, although my entries usually consisted of a few poorly spelled phrases like “Amy is my frend” and “I love spagetty” [sic].
I decided to write a memoir when I was 12 years old. What I had in mind was probably more of an autobiography since, at that age, I didn’t know what a memoir was. I wanted to write about growing up feeling different than other kids. I wanted to write about my friend who died and my parents’ divorce. I wanted to write about all the therapists I’d seen and the medications I’d already been on.
Eventually, I learned the word “memoir” and started reading them. This idea, which easily could have been yet another passing fantasy in my 12 year old mind (along with being a famous actress or a caterer), ended up sticking with me as the years went by. The idea also got me through a lot of the darkest times in my life. I knew that if I made it out of it, someday I’d be able to share my story with others.
I think memoir writing, whether it’s done for personal reasons or with the intention of publishing, is one of the most important and therapeutic things you can do. It allows you to sort through your memories and try to make some sense out of them. It gives you the chance to get on paper what you’ve been keeping locked away in your mind.
I have two goals for my memoir: to help others who have gone through some of the things I’ve gone through, and to help myself finally get it out and let it go.