YOUR MEMOIR: A SELFIE IN WORDS
YOUR MEMOIR: A SELFIE IN WORDS
Part 1 of #16 in the Memoirabilia podcast series on How to Write Memoir
based on the book, “Don’t Write Your MEmoir without ME’
At the beginning of “Don’t Write Your MEmoir without ME’ and here and there throughout the book, I indicated my belief that your memoir is a “selfie in words”.
As much as I dislike that popular social media practice of posting “selfies”, the term is incredibly appropriate to understanding what you are doing when you put truly put “ME” into your Memoir. Just like those selfies on Facebook or Instagram, when you write aMEmoir you are exposing yourself to the world. You are risking criticism, but for more than just your looks or assumed vanity in putting yourself “out there” nearly naked. Once you choose to bare your heart, mind and soul in words, you need to be ready for what the world will throw at you, both good and bad.
When I wrote “No Tears for my Father”, my own true story of incest, I was scared, not of what my family might think as my parents had both passed away years before, and my living husband and children had encouraged me to tell my story, but of how readers would perceive my role in that story. As it turned out, I had a right to be worried. I copped comments from men like
“How nice of you to speak this way about your father. He’s not here to defend himself. How do we know you didn’t want or ask for what he gave you?”
Do you know how much comments like that hurt? Or how about this one left by a woman in an Amazon review of my book:
“I am ashamed that this woman never held her father accountable for his actions. Her weakness in her situation is unbelievable.”
Others, younger readers, questioned why I had kept my silence for nearly 45 years. They couldn’t understand why I hadn’t gone to myschool guidance counselors, or as an adult, to women’s shelters or ultimately to the police. Of course. How could they understand my “weakness”, my failure to act? My story took place in the late 50’s to 60’s when there were no such services available to victims of abuse.
Still others blasted my mother for her failure to help me. They assumed, naturally, and wrongly, that she knew the incest was occurring and did nothing about it. I had told my story with complete honesty, yet found myself needing to vindicate not only myself but my mother, who was herself a pathetic and broken victim of my father’s physical and mental abuse.
And the biggest reason for these negative responses was one of the primary reasons why I had to write that “selfie in words”:…
What was that reason? Listen to the rest of the podcast of Part 1 of Chapter 16, “Your Memoir: A Selfie in Words”, or buy the book, “Don’t Write Your MEmoir without ME’
In the next podcast, Part 2 of Chapter 16, I bring the formal “instruction” part of this series to a close. Be sure you tune it, or as I’ve suggested throughout the podcasts and these posts, buy yourself a copy of “Don’t Write Your MEmoir without ME’. Till next time, keep working on your Memoir: your SELFIE IN WORDS.
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