Why Write a Memoir

The warm shower water ran over my chilly body; a thick frost blanketed the ground. Inspiration banged into my consciousness like it often does when the water washes away the tension of another night. My nights fluctuate between turbid dreams, prolonged periods of wakefulness and dark deep sleep.

Write about why you wrote Schicksal. 

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Why did I undertake the writing of my parent’s memoir? The motivation of other authors interested me. In Why Do writers Write a hundred writers share their reasons. The major reasons:

  • Expression
  • Have to
  • Imagination
  • Educating others

For me I felt a deep internal drive to share an amazing story, showing that in war neither side really wins. The person on the street always suffers regardless of their political persuasion. A memoir gave me the chance to share my parent’s experiences from a personal perspective. Having a large dose of empathy, I enjoyed conveying the information with heart, with feeling and credibility.

In her blog Amanda A examines this question, short and to the point. The passion, pleasure and therapeutic value of writing personal accounts can not be underrated. To write our characters requires unscrambling our perspective. I find it takes a lot of walking and thinking until the words flow through me onto the page.

Jerry Waxler explains the preamble to the writing process well.

Memories pile up year after year like boxes of unsorted photos. Until I was 50, I had no idea of what to do with all these memories so I tried to ignore them, hoping they would somehow make sense or go away. Finally I couldn’t take it any more, and started sorting out who I had been, organizing the past along lines of time and story. This effort has turned out to be a vital activity with many benefits that I want to share with the world.

George Orwell never one to mince words claims four reasons as to why we writers write:

  • Sheer egotism
  • Aesthetic enthusiasm
  • Historical impulse
  • Political Purpose

Is it egotism? Am I delusional if I don’t want to call it that? Maybe part of it is true, a percentage thing.

And I love this quote on The Atlantic It shows the tricky balance required to divorce oneself enough from immaturity whilst keeping the momentum of youth alive and breathing in our scenes. In writing there is a lot of self reflection and self mastery.

It is his job, no doubt, to discipline his temperament and avoid getting stuck at some immature stage, in some perverse mood; but if he escapes from his early influences altogether, he will have killed his impulse to write.

Through writing we grow, learning more about ourselves and others in the process. It is a joy.

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