Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Truth of the Matter: Week 1

Whenever you deal with memoir, you also deal with facts.  To some extent, you will never be able to objectify everything.  Some people would even argue that it is impossible to objectively report anything.

But without getting into further ideological discussion on perception and reality, we can take some measures to help us be more true to our story as well as remind us of things that happened.

During this first week, I would encourage you to avail yourselves to visual cues:
  • Review old photos. 
    You will remember things previously forgotten as well as begin to parse out a timeline for some events.
  • Create maps and/or charts.
    Where were things?  How far did you actually need to walk to school?  Whose house was behind yours?  Who did you sit next to in class?  Etc.  Knowing what was where and who was there often reminds me of side activities and comments that make my story richer.  All those years spent trapped by the alphabet sitting behind a pen-whacking drummer and in front of stat-muttering baseball fanatic adds color to my stories of making it through high school classes.
  • Draw pictures.
    It's not so much a chart, but consider drawing diagrams of things like your Christmas tree.  Where did the ornaments end up every year?  Or review your dining room table for Thanksgiving or Advent.  Did anyone ever light a sleeve on fire reaching over a candle?  Were there holiday accidents--things accidentally lost in the gravy or dropped in the corn, or dripped in the dressing?
At this point, these simple procedures will help you verify your memories a little and prompt you toward events you may have forgotten.

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