Memoir or Autobiography?

To think of writing an autobiography is overwhelming, but consider writing a memoir one story at a time and it’s doable.

We want to write our family stories, yet may wince at the thought of an autobiography, a daunting word to say the least. Matilda Butler clarifies the difference between memoir and autobiography here.

“An autobiography is—and one of the ways I think about that is as if it was a whole pie –it’s everything. But when you think about a memoir, it’s really a slice of your life.” The interview with Matilda is well worth the read.

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My Teenage Idol

Dinner and Jacks at Angie’s, My Teenage Idol

I was a bee, crammed in a hive with incessant buzzing around me. Nana was the queen, situated in her own quiet bedroom. Mom and Dad slept in the converted living room with baby Jon’s cradle pushed up against their bed, leaving little room for their armoire doors to open. I shared a bedroom with three-year-old Michael.

Most of the time we inhabited the hive with a minimum of collisions, but sometimes it was too much for me. That’s when I would escape to visit my teenage idol, Angie, who lived with … Read More

Memoir: Plausible Detail or Lying? You Decide

There’s a fine line in memoir writing between making up facts (lying), and enhancing memoir with plausible detail. At what point does an author deliberately mislead the memoir reader? Jane Friedman offers an archived guest post by Tracy Seeley called When Is Lying in Memoir Acceptable? 3 Key Issues.

Read the story Screaming and Splashing from my book Remembering Childhood: Workbook Your Way to a Finished Memoir and decide for yourself.

Here are the Facts:

I was four years old The fire hydrant was open
My mother watched
It was a hot day … Read More

Screaming and Splashing

Screaming and SplashingHot Summer

Mommy, come quick,” I shouted from the porch. “It’s open now! Mommy, Donny’s opened the hydrant! He did it again.”

I was barefoot on the front porch of our third-story flat, bibbed seersucker sunsuit over my naked chest, my blonde curls wet from perspiration that dripped onto my shoulders. The afternoon was more than sultry. It was a steam bath. Nearby, Nana drank water with a pinch of salt.

“Come and put on your bathing suit,” Mommy called out to me.

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Be a Memoir Writer Now: Resources

Remember Childhood

Be a Memoir Writer Now

The most valuable gift you can give your loved ones and future generations is the story of your life. Become a memoir writer. No one else can imbue your children and grandchildren with a sense of their family history than you, whose childhood blossomed in an era that would otherwise be forgotten.

In my experience as a long-time educator I discovered that children with a strong sense of family distinctiveness performed better in school than … Read More