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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Like a walk in the park...




For everything I write, I consider the veracity of my statements and attributions, the markers of identification around me, the effect my words will have on my dear ones, how what I write fits in the opus of  my accomplishments...

Even a simple essay as this blog post needs an integrity of purpose, a consistent point of view, and fit the kind of writing exemplified by the hundreds of entries in this blog, as well as the various circumstances I have shared all along in the last six plus years.

In contrast, when I write about my past, while I'm the only arbiter of both content and point of view, the very act of conjuring up the past helps me make sense of it for my benefit and for nobody else.


When I tell stories about my life, I can choose what to write about, and how much to reveal about myself in the exercise. In a sense. I can take any personality I think I had when I experienced those events. Everything I talk about can be colored anyway I see fit as my childhood, the way I experienced it, cannot be anyone else's. Even people who grew up with me or around me cannot bear witness to how I felt at any given moment.

Does all this mean that the writer can make up his/her story the way a fiction writer chooses his characters and their personalities? Does it happen this way?

I cannot speak for other writers; I can only tell you about myself.

When I write memoir pieces, I embody an emotional self that lived at that time, constricted by the circumstances depicted in those episodes, and it all feels, as I write, as though I'm watching myself in a movie, and the scenes spring up like movie sets, colors and lighting, and dialogue trying to be rooted in that time and space for as long as possible.  What happens in those scenes, if any insight surfaces, it is  discovered as it is being told, or within the confines of a few scenes. This looking back, revisiting the innocent and blind state we were in at the time of a decision helps us embrace the person we were then, helps us reveal TO OURSELVES the poignant moments in our lives.

I can tell you that I discovered so much about my journey as I wrote about it.

There is no time like retirement to make sense of our lives; to hold it proudly and share the lessons with those we love. 

20 comments:

RNSANE said...

Definitely a good use of our retirement years, retrospection, looking into the past. often therapeutic, sometimes, very nostalgic. It's good to put it down in writing while we remember, to share with those important to us, most importantly, for ourselves.

Meryl Baer said...

A great use of prestitous time.

Marty Damon said...

I couldn't agree more. I've always been impressed by other people's ability to recall their past and thought that there was no way I could remember enough to write about it.
And yet, once I got started I discovered I remembered more than I thought I could and I was able to revisit these moments in pretty good detail.
Never mind all that - the most valuable thing I realized is that through writing bits of memoir, I can save those stories I've carried around in my head, and as you've said, make sense of them.

Rubye Jack said...

I've often wondered why it is I feel a need to publish what I write, and I think it is because in the sharing of our experiences we receive so much from others in their responses. I am not so interested in writing about a memory if I have no audience because I want the conversation. I want to know what others think and what their memories are with regard to mine. I suppose some would say I am looking for validation but I think when we honestly write about our feelings it is much more than that. And my point in sharing this Rosaria :) is to tell you that I always appreciate your thinking and sharing of yourself.

Munir said...

I am sure retirement is a good time to reflect and you are doing a fabulous job. It is good to write memoirs. For me writing is cathartic in the sense that I feel good when I voice my concerns. What better way to do that than a blog post. I am utterly grateful to those who write. I may or may not leave a comment but reading surely is a pleasure.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

I love your reflections and insights, Rosaria, and agree that retirement is an excellent time to examine who we are and who we have been.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosaria .. love this and the way you and your readers have expressed their thoughts. I probably wouldn't write personal details .. not having children that aspect falls away and not having public persona it doesn't warrant delving .. but I'd like to write memoir putting historical aspects into the telling ... drawing the reader along, who wouldn't be interested in me ... but who may be interested in the telling thereof.

Good to read your thoughts and ideas here .. Hilary

yaya said...

You are such a wonderful writer and I think I have learned a lot about ways to enhance my retirement years when the times comes. I use my blog to a degree as a journal tool and I'm surprised at times when I look back and see what I was up too when I started writing it 6yrs ago. I found an old diary I had kept from age 12 to 16...I had a good laugh and also a good look into who I was then and how I've changed. I gave my Mom a book years ago that she actually returned to me. It had questions about her life and childhood and feelings in general. She answered every one and gave it back to me as a gift. I want to rewrite it and put it into a book form for my siblings...such precious memories and thoughts.

Rian said...

I loved this post. Having written down my thoughts my whole life, I do find it therapeutic and often enlightening. As for your comment about whether its similar to how a fiction writer chooses... I think in some ways it is. Our memories are not *foolproof*. From what I've read, they can be *enhanced* by time or circumstance. However, I don't think that I put as much thought into the process as you do... which may be obvious in my writing... but whether I'm writing a memory or fiction, I tend to let the words flow freely. It always amazes me how they take on their own life and go where they will.

Liz Rice-Sosne said...

You are of course absolutely correct.

Velva said...

How we choose to tell our life story is up to us…It is our intrepertaion, it is our journey. You are right we can work out so much in our live sby just telling the story and writing it down.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Velva

Amanda Summer said...

I recently heard Elizabeth Gilbert speak (author of Eat Pray Love) and she said writing a novel for her was actually more revealing of herself than her famous memoir, because she "curated" her own memories for that book and selected specific ones to write about, leaving other memories out. So in a way, we do select what parts we wish to share when writing memoir - there is no rule we have to tell everything, just tell what we wish to share with the best of our storytelling skills.

ellen abbott said...

memory is a funny thing and cannot be relied upon as a reflection of what really happened. we think we remember events in our own lives and yet ask someone who was there at the time and involved in the experience and they will be surprised by your memory of it. we all remember the same things differently. do we remember events or emotions? do we recreate the event in memory to coincide with the felt emotion?

Becky Jerdee said...

We all tell our stories in one way or another...when I hear myself tell part of my story to someone else, I can't help but notice how the story has changed from the time I told it before. My feelings about old happenings have changed over time as I've mellowed...

Brian Miller said...

all of our stories are tainted with our perspective...esp the emotional side...what we felt in the moment...and we are constantly rewriting how we feel about those past events as well...time and distance temper them and let us appreciate them all the more....

troutbirder said...

Yes. The certainly can be cathartic though not at all stages Have I been honest with myself...

Grandmother (Mary) said...

Yes, an unexpected and gracious gift of retirement is the time to think, sift, tell stories, re-experience our past to make sense of it for ourselves and those we love. Reading others' stories helps me to be brave enough to tell mine.

Maggie May said...

You write beautifully and I think that some things are remembered with clear detail. I can go back to when I was quite small.
Maggie x

Friko said...

That is really what makes me write about my own past: to understand it and the person I was and how I became the person I am.

Blogging may not be the best platform, but knowing that others read it makes me be more careful about what I write, how I write and how I stop myself from laying blame.

What we remember is the truth for us, it may not be anyone else’s truth, but it’ll do for me.

A Cuban In London said...

I think that we all alter the reality of our lives somewhat, especially the past. I don't think we do this on purpose or with malice, but it's a rather unconscious human act. Beautiful post you have written. Thanks.

Greetings from London.