The first thing I started to write was a memoir. What is a memoir I hear you cry ? Basically it is a piece of narrative about your life. Why a memoir ? Well for me I had just finished a kind of journey and I wanted to put that into my writing as a way of honouring that journey.
The best bit of writing advice I had ever found was, ‘write about what you know’. So I put put pen to paper and started to shake my brain about the earlier years of my life. Who the hell wants to hear about my life ? Good question.No one really wants to hear about David Swan’s life, but I figured if I could tweak this tale and use my creative juices, I may be able to turn my memoirs into an incredible piece of fiction.
Do you need to have walked across the Antartic, or climbed Mount Everest, or suffered terrible ordeals during your childhood? Well it might help. The more unique, fascinating, terrfiying, your life has been could swing it, but you may be able to get away with an average life because the chances are you may feel your world was ordinary, but the world around you, that you were growing up in, certainly wasn’t.
The 70’s, the 80’s, the 90’s ? Disco, Thatcher, and Rave Music. You can always blend your memoir with what is going on in the world around you and a little bit of fantasy to tie it all together. A memoir doesn’t have to be a direct translation of the past. In fact when you attempt to search that brain of yours for past events you may find yourself being consfused with what actually happened. Try writing about your life year by year and see how much you remember.
And what about the memories that you remember? I always say that when I view them in my mind it is like peeking over the garden fence into someone else’s life. A memoir is more about honouring a specific moment in the past, of course as you view it from the perspective of the present you will retell it in a different way.
You could try actually imagining yourself as a child at a particular age and actually drop yourself in that memory and see if you can decribe the event in detail, or else just reflect on the past event with your new informed opinion, added with wisdom of course.
I have spent the last two years attempting to cobble together all the different spiritual retreats I went on, and mix it with the events that occurred inbetween. I used the retreats as opportunities to go deeply into my past. It has been fascinating and I am only now trying to turn it into a book.
As I looked back I was able to reflect on how my character had changed over the years showing how I had matured and how my experiences had affected me. As I go over and over the past events not only am I gaining great experience as a writer, and honouring my journey, I am also letting go of any unresolved issues.