A memoir is often seen as a single-dimensional ‘truth’ about a writer, the writer’s self-expression or confession. A memoir, in in fact, is the writer’s perception of truth, and her need to express that perception in her chosen format.
And so, a memoir is the writer’s journey from reality of lived experience to the reality of ‘worded’ impressions.
There are things in a writer’s life that present themselves unasked, uninvited, right there at her desk; then there are moments that demand the writer’s focused attention to reveal themselves; finally there are faraway wraiths of memories that desperately seek writerly resolve, and vital emotional effort to divulge their core and deepest essence. This is the truth; so is that; and so is that.
On the other side, a reader of a memoir fixes her gaze on a single familiar face: this is what she thought, this is where she ate and slept, this is how she lived…
In a memoir, the writer and reader are face to face; the writer is the host, who invites the reader-guest to her life-story, to step within the intimacy of the writer’s thoughts and life. The story the writer now shares with her reader-guest is her true reality. It is a relationship that calls for integrity and a zen courage on the part of the writer – to locate and identify her truth, to bring the reader face to face with that truth. Any ‘untruth’ or ‘fabrication’ brings a modicum of defeat to the writer-host, and to the relationship itself.
The reality on this shore passes through the waters of creative process and transforms into the reality on the other side…
…this is how a memoir is born.