Today’s personal essay isn’t just late, it’s also a little different than how I usually post them. According to the dictionary, obviously, I mean Google, it can still be defined as a “personal essay.”
If you’re following along on my Instagram, you’ll know that I mentioned the amazing-ness that is Signature’s Guide to Writing Memoir, presented with Passion Planner. Even if you’ve never even thought about writing a memoir, it’s still such an amazing read.
I feel inspired by all of the writers in the guide, but something really struck a chord with me, in part 24, “How to Get to Who You Really Are in Memoir,” by Agata Tuszyńska.
It’s a beautiful piece of her dual heritage and old family secrets and the influence it had on her book Family History of Fear. Although I’m unable to relate to her specific life experiences, I understood her piece to touch on many aspects of writing memoir. Such as, her memoir being her truth and her reality, as she retells her childhood, but she asks the pressing question, that as a writer is it only the writer’s truth?
Personally, my memoir is about my experiences having people around me die. I’m having a difficult time with it because I wasn’t the only person to know these people. The people that passed were not just my loved ones, they were sons, daughters, cousins, and so much more to others. My memoir involves a huge web of other lives and experiences, making it not only my truth.
I’ve sent several messages to other people asking for help. “Hey, you were there for a lot of it, can you tell me what you remember?” Tuszyńska also mentions in her piece to simply “ask.” To ask people, as long as they’re alive, to describe memories and their experiences. So, if you get a weird message from me…
Also, the whole idea of my writing being “public property,” is so scary. I know it is, but like she mentions, it’s still surprising. In so many ways. Comments about pieces I’ve made public from friends or strangers, give me so many butterflies! Good and bad. I’m happy to hear that someone is reading my work, yet so flippin scared that someone is reading my work. Like Tuszyńska says, “My readers felt encouraged to…” I hope that once my memoir gets published, I will have encouraged readers as well.
If interested, please read the entire guide! And know that once you get to section 24, she mentions so many other beautiful things and I probably didn’t do it enough justice, but it’s what I took away from it.
❤ Happy Weekend!