“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.” — Winston Churchill
Writing Your Truths
One of the challenges of memoir writing is to write the truth. We can get caught up in doubting our truth—wondering if we are correct; what are the “real” facts? What do other people in the family or at the same event say the truth is? Who is right?
A memoir writer is the author of his or her own truth. We can only write about our version of reality, our single experience. Most people I know do not need or want to distort truths for attention or to shock. The memoir writers I meet are too concerned with an “accurate” version of the truth, caught up in hearing more of the inner critic instead of feeling free to write the stories they want to write, the stories that are whispering in their hearts.
Since memoir writing is a process, it is important to sort through the things that get in your way and create room for you to freely write your stories. Writing through some of your questions and blocks will help you to proceed to write with more freedom of expression.
- How do you define truth in memoir writing?
- Write a story that your family would approve of, but which you feel is not the best representation of the truth.
- What parts of your story do you feel you need to change, and why?
- What image or persona of yourself at a certain age do you most identify with, and why?
- What story about yourself would you never tell, except perhaps to your memoir group?