Monday, January 20, 2014

More on Memoir, Memory and Truth

My students sometimes relate that their sister/brother insists that a certain event about which they are writing happened much differently or never occurred at all.

Memory isn't false.  You could say it is unreliable in its inclination to make a totally accurate story of our past.  The whole idea is to make sense of what's happened to us.  These memories reflect our purpose and identity; we reflect on how we see ourselves.

The way we tell our story is the way we begin to live our lives.  What we remember is a reconstruction of image and feeling that suits our needs and purposes.  This is an attempt by the author to narrate memories with the greatest emotional truth.  It's your memory of the event from your perspective.  Each family member may tell the story of an event differently because of their particular point of view, but that doesn't mean that your account is untrue.

This is your life you are writing about--your ambitions, successes and perhaps, even your failures,  Your memories are filled with folks who have adorned, scarred and skewed the plot of your life.  Put them in your stories before time robs you of your impressions.

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