New Year’s Day is a day for looking forward, to plan a fresh start with bold ambitions.
Writing memoir is a way of sifting the past, of looking at a chosen chunk of time, perhaps comparing certain years with a present way of life, analysing how the past has affected the present.
Are you someone who plays The Beatles and thinks, those were better days or agrees with yourself that those growing-up years were special but you wouldn’t want them back, you’d rather get on with the now? I’m for getting on with the now.
Life-writing, as memoir is sometimes called, can resurrect sorrows but it also brings joys. There are benefits of seeing situations in a different light, even laughing at yourself. And forgiving yourself those adolescent mistakes.
Memoir is not autobiography. You, the writer, decide what to include and what to leave out. It is writing around a theme or about certain years, particular events in your life. It is not always written for publication. Certainly private writing, not intended for other readers eyes, is a rewarding and satisfactory way of putting words on paper, recording events even if you would rather they had never happened. Indeed, writing the words down is an accepted exercise in therapy. The process settles the reader’s emotions and brings freedom from regret and undeserved guilt.
Memoir does not need to be broadcast. Many writers are not looking to publish their memoirs.
But I am.