Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Writing Memoir

I have signed up for a course on writing memoirs. This is something I would not have done if Jane had not recommended it. She has been on one of Dawn's courses and was impressed with the beneficial effect on her writing. Certainly Dawn Garisch is a fine writer. I would say especially of autographical works. Much of her poetry, also is superb. I found the only novel of her's that I have tried to read, too depressing and abandoned it half-way. But then I have become fussier in my reading as I have got older. I am prepared to wade through heavy unpalatable prose if I am in search of information, but when I read for entertainment, I expect to be entertained. I don't want to be harrowed, and I don't want to be bored. That is why I avoid "confessional" poetry or for that matter "confessional" prose. If the blurb talks about "brave battles against addiction" or "coming to terms with childhood abuse," I put the book back on the shelf. Not that I think that such stories should not be written, It is just that I have just heard too many of them. I am not into the baring of one's soul. I do not like to do so myself and although I can listen sympathetically to another's troubles, reading the unpleasant details of fractured lives makes me uncomfortable. With this in mind I find myself a little apprehensive about the forthcoming course. A while ago I wrote down some childhood memories for my children and grandchildren. Silke, who edited it, wanted me to be much more "personal". She didn't think my family would be interested in my father's career as a teacher, or where my mother did her shopping or what we used to grow in the garden. She wanted more drama and more emotion. These I was unable to supply. Now, although my childhood was calm and bland, I have had plenty of drama not to mention trauma in my life. I just don't particularly like writing about it. I hope not too much of the "confessional" will be expected of me.

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