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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Is it real, or is it created?




The photographs are real. The action is real. The characters are real. The emotions are real.
So, why is it that writing a memoir feels like writing fiction?

Those of you who have been following my other blog, When I Was Your Age, memoir stories
will notice a certain style that is different from this blog. 

It is a trick of the mind, a suspension of time and place similar to writing fiction: Reliving past events of long ago feels like one is seeing a movie, an old black and white, grainy, barely audible, frought with pauses and erasures.

All the pain, and the anxiety and the homesickness and the confusion, all return in good dose. Selecting episodes to portray these emotions without falling in murky waters of self-pity becomes the issue.

You tell yourself: I have to tell the truth!
You tell yourself: This is not interesting to anybody else.
You tell yourself: What if I make somebody mad?

WE tell stories because we must tell them. There is something that needs to come out in plain light.

Your understanding, encouragement and support are dearly appreciated.

34 comments:

RNSANE said...

Well, Rosaria, I must, then, go and read this other blog which I was unaware existed. I will love it, I know, as your writing is always so wonderful.

Woman in a Window said...

Oh, such a strong voice. Undeniable. I must see!
xo
erin

Sophia said...

I feel the same way about writing and I have to tell you that there are still moments where I feel "restricted" with writing on my blog, for one reason or another. I am completely real....I just wish my life/situ allowed me to share more, but it is not at that point right now. Does that make sense at all?

Keep writing the way you feel led. It IS inpsiring to us all.

jinksy said...

Life has a habit of being a warts and all experience, so tell it like it is, says I, for learning often comes in doing this kind of action replay on paper - er - computer! Good on ya!

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

If writing or any subject is done by heart, I am sure it will reach another heart.

Wander to the Wayside said...

I'm following you VERY closely, Rosaria, because I'm the only one left who can tell any kind of story about ME, and you know some of the stuff I've been thru! There's so much I want my grandsons to know about me, even stuff my daughter doesn't know but which would give her more insight into why I am who I am and how I got to this point. Your memoir 'lessons' and examples are going to help me get my story out there for them. Now the question is...do I or should I tell the embarrassing private stuff, and do I do it for them to see NOW, or when I am gone? My initial instinct says to just start writing it chronologically like the diary or journal I didn't keep along the way, and then fine tune it.

willow said...

It does seem like another life, doesn't it?

cheshire wife said...

My childhood now seems to be a world away, altough in some ways it still seems like only yesterday. So much has changed with the world. Nearly everything is so different.

ellen abbott said...

Memory is such a tricky thing. There was a study done which I can't tell you much about cause I don't remember but what struck me was that it determined that people don't always remember things the way they actually happened, even when the things happened to the person remembering. One of the reasons my profile says that my stuff is 95% truth, 5% fiction. I figure if I get all the major parts of the story right, a little detail here and there doesn't matter.

Don't worry about hurting anyone's feelings, this is your story after all. If they don't like it, they can write their own story.

Eva Gallant said...

What you have been writing, Rosaria, is wonderful. Keep it up. You definitely have a gift.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Rosaria, I so understand and identify with your 3 "you tell yourself" lines.

You tell yourself: I have to tell the truth!
You tell yourself: This is not interesting to anybody else.
You tell yourself: What if I make somebody mad?

I especially identify with the 3rd. I constantly am concerned that if I tell the truth I will make someone angry. There seems to be more to hide than to share from those close to me. I once was very honest and would share many of my thoughts & feelings, but now seem to bottle them. That could be the main reason I do not seem to blog as I did in the past.

I love that you have the courage to share!

Nancy said...

We also appreciate your sharing of the experience. We learn through you to be better writers. Love the picture and the lesson to go with it.

Brian Miller said...

we tell stories because we must tell them...love that. they are there to be told. maybe they feel like fiction at times because they are colored by our perceptions in that moment.

Enchanted Oak said...

Rosaria, I sure have unsettled a few family members with my writings on my blog. You helped me when that happened to understand it is MY story I'm writing, not theirs. And of course they will be uncomfortable. Nevertheless, press on. No one lived my life. No one tells my story like I do.

Velva said...

This is your story and you have every right to tell it from your perspective. Cheers to you!

Reya Mellicker said...

It's a gift to everyone when people of our age tell our stories. We've been around long enough to have gathered many different adventures. We have a breadth of vision that can't be had earlier in life. We have perspective.

No wonder it feels like we're making it up!

Write on, and right on, sister! Oh yeah.

NitWit1 said...

I understand while I am writing about only ONE segment of my life in a series. Some is half remembered. Some persons are now deceased and I cannot asked if this is what happened. There are many who say I should write a book of my life and yes I say who would be interested in that, but then I think of Anne Frank who didn't write a book.....but yes she did, just some one else put it in words, in movie, etc. etc.

I personally met a Czech imigrant here in Bull Shoals. I could sit and listen to her for hours. How she came to America. How hard itwas, yet she learned English, PERFECT English, both written and spoken--no coloquials for her. She worked hard. She married and travelled with her husband, a lithographer. Never comfortably financial. When she was widowed, she a very small bank account, but an astute friend told she had to invest in stock market. She invested in a small regional retailer and became comfortably rich. The company WAL-MART.

WRITE ON....

tattytiara said...

That's real trust your gut territory, that is. I think you've got a really good grip on your intuition. You're gonna do just fine.

Fire Byrd said...

I haven't been to your other blog yet, but I can identify with what you say here, as I often feel like that when I'm talking about my past, which I do a lot here.
Good luck with it.
x

becky at abbeystyle said...

A publishing friend once gave me a tiny pair of boxing gloves with a note, "Go to your corner and come out writing!"

Writing is a bit like fighting...fears, doubts, beliefs...

Lisa said...

I too get this way. There is so much I want to keep inside when writing, but know I must reveal at some point if I want to write from my heart. Best of luck. It's not easy.

Bagman and Butler said...

Surprise. I didn't know about your other blog. I must mouse around too fast. I have to check it out. I know the feeling. Although sometimes my current life feels like fiction too. Whenever I step outside to observe myself, the observed part of me becomes a little less real. Probably a zen moral somewhere here.

Maggie May said...

I will have to go over to the other blog.

I am the opposite. My memories of my childhood seem to be coloured. Colours seem to be very significant. My earliest memories that is. My teenage years seem much greyer. Is it to do with happiness perhaps?

Nuts in May

Pat said...

Then there are the parts which are painful to recall and one delays actually writing about them. But it actually is therapeutic once one braces oneself and does it.

Shadow said...

write what your heart tells you to. write the truth as you know it.

Tiffany Norris said...

It is difficult to write memoirs. Somehow, to me, it often feels like creative non-fiction. But, just to add my encouragement, I'm enjoying your story very much!

Meri said...

Boy, my friend, you've hit the nail on the head with the thoughts that come to the fore when I write about my life. Who will be interested (no one)? How much of the truth shall I tell and is it really the truth, or just my truth?

Elizabeth Bradley said...

I admire you. I could never write a memoir. It seems impossible.

Journaling Woman said...

I love this post. Recently a coworker wanted to read a short story I wrote. He told me that he saw me all through the story as in-my experiences - my phobias - all truths put into an untrue - fiction.

Your story does matter. He and I agreed that our lives may seem common, but not to other people.

Cloudia said...

Ditto & Amen!


Aloha, Sister Friend


Comfort Spiral

the walking man said...

The memoir is an insane form that hopefully return the reader and the writer to some where other than the padded cell of the times being written of.

Ribbon said...

I guess one of the things that makes writing about the past difficult is that it is a version from any given day.
Memory is strange as there is always something to add or subtract... and therefore when we try to harness it, it can be difficult as it is constantly moving/evolving.

I think that you are doing a brilliant job and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading what you have written so far.

I'm confident that your family are going to very much appreciate what you are doing.

Keep going... write and let go.

xx Ribbon

She Writes said...

I know what you mean. I also write my story because the words have to get out. It has never ceased to amaze me that people actually read it!

I read your story, as it unfolds at the other blog and realize there is much to be told by you and I don't want to miss it!

xxAmy

me said...

Hello, lakeviewer.
Sometimes I think that it would be easier for me to write the truth in a language that is not mine, that I don’t even understand very well, such as English :)

Maybe it would hurt me a little less if I could understand a little less the emptiness that, sometimes, lies in front and behind me ...

The truth hurts, but I think it hurts us more then those that we try to preserve from it.