Sunday, September 25, 2011

Memoir:where it takes us

When I realize that the book I am writing is different than what I'm really wanting to wrte, I face that dilemma common to memoir. It take some serious courage to speak that which has remained so well hidden for so long. One worries and worries about just what it is that triggers the writing of all those feelings, finally, and without warning.

I expect surprise, but not excruciating surprise. Hey, where did that come from? whose idea is that? I don't remember that! Oops, I didn't intend to reveal that! Who the heck is writing this stuff? And on and on, nearly daily as doors so severally locked creak open and ooze out material I thought best left in those moldy closets.

Oh yes, courage is the needful thing. there are dead bodies in my closets, figments, filaments, piles of detritus stored and saved up for God knows what. Memoir is not merely cathartic and self indulgent. It is the scalpel wielded by some inner self that slices open the often healed over wound that needs purging, cauterizing, bled. there is no healthy scar tissue here, but only the stacked cicatrix of twisted soul tissue held hidden from true understanding.

So I can get down to the who and what and why of the endless whine and cry of an early life of discard and trashing of a small child subjected to the whine and cry of an equally damaged mother. In the end, what we all seek is the answer to why. And we hang ourselves up on the barbed wire of an intolerable truth: there is no acceptable answer, no rhyme or reason. No useful explanation that we hope will bring healing. The thing just is, without repair, and still doing damage. Well, where's the hope in that? Finding understanding is perhaps merely panacea for the unfixable. But it can put an end to the why. To discover it's not me who is the perp, not me who came up short, not me who couldn't make a mother love. Worse, it requires discovery of who she is, far more important that what she did or what she didn't. And deciding how much I care, or not.

Memoir exhausts the soul. These are only some of the reasons we are accused, rightly, of not telling our story, but only telling about the story. We often don't know what the story is the struggle to get it said even as we work so hard to not say it. And we can't let it alone. Like picking at scabs, we niggle, waffle, run away, say something else. And try to never tell. Until we tell. until then, the doors slam on all that ooze, we go get a cup of coffee, just long enough to lose the train of thought. We miss the train and give thanks that we are safe for one more dsy from our killing truth, not knowing we have once more missed our chance for freedom.


  1. I am in the process of putting up a new memoir blog. Actually I have a handful of new blogs that I currently putting up in addition to my main blog for the purpose of experimenting with niche.
    I am now following yours in order to keep in touch with what you are doing and possibly tapping you for a future guest spot. Good luck with what you are doing.

    Tossing It Out

  2. Barbie, I'm working my way through your blog--each and every one so important to me. Your first paragraph here really hits home for me. And the last one, too. Thank you so much. Please keep writing!