I never thought I’d consider writing a memoir.
Fiction is my genre. It always has been, ever since I was a little girl crafting “books” out of construction paper and crayons. When I declared myself a writer at some point in elementary school, I wanted to write stories. I wanted to make stuff up.
There’s a safety in fiction that doesn’t exist for memoir.
Maybe that’s why I kept myself firmly planted there for so long. I never had to be held accountable. I could always say, it’s just a story, if anyone bothered me about autobiographical details.
Of course every writer, no matter the genre, weaves in elements of themselves, their lives, in their work. If not things that happened to them directly, then things they observed, sensed, or felt. Creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum. But fiction writers can hide behind a cloak of invisibility – or at least, pretend to do so – while memoirists are stark naked.
Over the last couple years, I’ve been taking some different kinds of chances. I wrote about witnessing my mother’s death and the birth of my first child, about postpartum depression and my daughter’s celiac diagnosis. Stories that belong to me, but also, in a way, to my family.
The part of me that values privacy – and secrets – wanted to muffle this new tendency. But something shifted inside me, a curiosity began to unfold.
“You have a memoir in there.”
Her words stopped me in my tracks. They sunk in and took root, even when I tried to brush them away.
They were part of what inspired my recent guest post on The Gift of Writing.
Own Your Story: Overcoming Fear About Writing Memoir is about my journey, which is still in progress, but also contains universal truths that I discovered in my research about common themes that hold people back from telling their stories.
Please take a look if you’re interested in the topic. Thank you as always for reading my words, here and beyond.