It’s exciting to begin a memoir in a community of brilliant bloggers. I am blessed to have each of you join me on this journey backward in time—this travel to a sometimes painful past.
But in an effort to explain some of the insight you’ve helped me gain this week, I’m going to digress into myth. It’s Friday and tomorrow is my 49th birthday, so think of me as a soon-to-be-old lady whose senility has brought on this bout of babel.
However, it’s true that, according to Greek mythology, if Psyche wanted to be reunited with her bridegroom Eros, she had to complete 4 tasks assigned to her by Eros’ mother Aphrodite—tasks that Jungians suggest represent the female process of individuation, a woman’s journey toward emotional maturity.
The first of these tasks—sorting a huge pile of seeds—mirrors, some scholars believe, the psyche’s effort to take stock, sort out options, assess what’s on hand—work that is thought to be foundational for female emotional growth.
So, in good literary form, over the next week, I’ll be sorting sources in a first step toward making this memoir less a matter of myth and more a matter of fact.
You all gave me great advice this week about how to manage the work ahead—supportive comments that built organically and culminated with a recommendation from Mrs. H./Amanda over at “A. Hab’s View of the World:”
Do you think it would be helpful for you to work on a year, a month, a week at a time? Start wherever you like (if it’s the beginning, middle, the end, wherever feels good), but then maybe start hacking through it a chunk at a time? Take December 1995, for instance (grabbing that one out of the air since that’s the date on the photo you shared above). Remember that your memoir will not be a volumes-long diary of every little moment, every little experience. Instead, you are going to be distilling it down for your readers into the most important moments, the most important experiences. But maybe if you could prioritize and chunk your research it will help you be less daunted. Instead of thinking, “I’m working on my memoir,” change your thinking to, “I’m going to tell the story about December 1995.” A memoir will come out of that (just like a dissertation will come out of two pages a day)…eventually.
This brilliantly summarized so many comments that had come before and mapped a path ahead that I believe I can, indeed, follow.
So in an effort to select a month to begin writing about, I’ve dragged a life-time’s worth of journals from the attic and am sorting them, first according to year and then according to month, so I can assess and make an informed decision about how to proceed.
So as we head into another weekend, a birthday weekend for me, I want to remind each of you how much I appreciate your kind comments, your helpful suggestions and recommendations.
Your support will help me make this memoir happen. I love you all!