I signed onto a free online class about Memoir writing today. It was difficult to concentrate solely on the class and not look around the room or let my mind drift off to other things.
Something I picked up on was finding the heart of my Memoir. The Lecturer said her Memoir started out as a huge 600 page novel. She was asked to turn it into a live play (go figure) so she had to whittle it down to just 30 pages of script.
That’s a huge cut.
The lecturer said it made her really look at what she’d written about, what was most important to share and what not to include which ultimately made her play really popular.
She said to think through a memoir and to take a step back and really think about the heart of a memoir – what was the main message and what parts supported that. She recommended cutting out whatever didn’t support the main theme.
Another part that stood out to me was the Lecturer asking “What is it that taps you on the shoulder and demands to be written about?”
I thought my Memoir was about adversity and overcoming but when I thought deeply about it…it’s my relationships with others that have affected me most.
The part of my life that “taps me on the shoulder” is mostly my life with Matt – or in many cases – without him.
The constant push and pull of my unrealistic goals, dreams and wishes against the reality of Matt’s gritty life weaves a scarlet thread throughout 2/3rds of my life.
That’s pretty striking, no?
For 3 decades I’ve been measuring every other guy against my “Matt standard” and coming up short. I’ve also made a lot of huge life choices in favour of either wanting to extend a relationship with Matt or wanting him back in my life years after he’s left me.
Pathetic in many ways…but it’s at the middle of sooo much of what’s happened in my life.
The heart of my Memoir is relationships.
Relationships with my family, my friends, guys I’ve dated, my bosses, my co-workers and even with psychologists.
Relationships have made me, broken me, betrayed me, excited me, inspired me, developed me, nearly killed me and helped build me back up again.
Sooooooo I need to re-think and re-draft yet another time; crafting my chapters to lead the reader over and over again to the relationships I’ve had.