Memoirs – writing about slices of your life

Tell your stories!

Memoirs don’t cost anything to write – just a few minutes.
You do not need to write a book, and you do not need to publish your memoirs.
You can do those things if you wish, but they are outside the scope of this post.

What are Memoirs?

⦁ Just to get this straight – they are not autobiographies which are usually a chronological account of your life or about your life’s work
⦁ They are slices of your life that you remember because they were unique in some way. Some are happy or sad, good or bad, there are accomplishments and disappointments. Stories you may want to share with your grandchildren so they may learn to know who you were from your perspective.
⦁ They do not need to be acts of heroism or award-winning moments, more so they are those pieces of your life that have shaped you or show your personality. They are the experiences that were profound or special in your eyes.
⦁ If you don’t tell your story in your words, others will tell it in theirs, or alternatively, it will never be told.

The Objective of this post

The objective is to get you started in the simplest possible way on your first memoir.
One page is a great place to start – stick with the topic and leave out the unnecessary waffle
You are unique, and so is your life experience through your eyes only.

Follow these easy steps

1) Pick a topic
Here are some general topics: pet, a friend, trip, holiday, school, club, favourite or worst sport, an accident, first car, mischief, a game, a nightclub, a family tradition, a secret

2) Who will read them?
You get to choose who your audience is, who are you writing this for:
a) is this for your eyes only(your way of journaling)
b) your children or descendants
c) friends
d) strangers (i.e. are you thinking of sharing on the internet or publishing a book?)

3) Start to write 
Use a basic format, such as: An opening section, 3 to 5 sub-topics, a closing section
Remember to write in your everyday language – it is so important to be yourself!

a) Open
e.g. How did this moment in your life begin on that day or time in your life?

b) Subtopics
Talk about some of the relevant events or characters
What happened? Expand over 3 to 5 subtopics

c) Close
The close can be a grand finale, a lesson learned, a message or merely a winding down to the end of your story

4) Edit

a) Validate – Spell check – optional

b) Presentation – Leave a line between long paragraphs for ease of reading

c) Flow – Decide how you want the story to flow arranging the sentences in some sort of order, e.g. start with the opening scene of the event e.g. describing your surroundings, or start with an exciting  or scarey incident, or Open with the end or the story then go back to tell a story of how it all started. Using the sub-topics, choose the most relevant parts of the story.

Tips

How personal should we get?
a) personal memoirs, sharing secrets or naming or shaming are a choice, not a requirement
b) If you tell a story about other family members or friends, you can ask for permission and of course, let them read it – that is also a choice
c) If you need to get stuff off your chest but don’t want to hurt anyone, you can write using fictitious characters or different names except, keep yourself real, otherwise, write it for your-eyes-only.

An example of a short memoir
Following is a short memoir I wrote about my Rooster. It’s not intended to be published. It is for the family to know that I was once an eight-year-old girl who ran around the countryside after a rooster, I had dreams and knew what heartache was.

Connect with people and show your raw human experience.

In this example I demonstrate the simple structure of Open, 3 sub-topics, Close.

 

The Rooster in the White-bait net

OPEN
I had finally persuaded Dad to get a rooster for our eight hens because someone told me roosters did something to the eggs. I wanted chickens so much since I first saw them as a toddler. I was the chook keeper in our family and at eight years old had learned how to build a chicken coop. That was the deal when I begged for chooks – help Dad build the chook-house and the chook-run.

Picking up the Rooster
Finally, the weekend was here, and we were going to Uncle Tommy’s to get our rooster. He was a beautiful rooster with the most brilliant colours of ginger, blue-greens and splashes of white,red and black. He was quite wild as had free-range of the large rural property. I was the luckiest eight-year-old in my town. I imagined future chickens from eggs that weren’t even laid yet.

The Rooster in the White-bait net
When we got home, Dad suggested the Rooster be introduced to the chooks gradually. For now, we had to place the Rooster under an upside-down whitebait net near the house. I sat on the step, looking at the Rooster in the whitebait net. Everyone else had gone to play. Dad had gone inside to have a cup-of-tea with Mum.

After a long time watching the Rooster pacing backwards and forwards wondering how to get out of the white-bait net, I asked Dad if I could now take him to meet the chooks. He said yes, as long as I kept an eye on him.

Without hesitation, I ran straight out, lifted the net and grabbed the rooster. He was so quick I couldn’t hold him as he slipped out of my arms and ran away as fast as he could using his wings to fly over gardens and fences. He ran to the back of our section and cut across to the neighbour’s paddocks heading for the street.

A Vacant section
I ran out of our driveway and down to the street to try and cut him off. By the time I got there, he was running into the backyard of a house squawking loudly. The whole town could hear including a neighbour’s Corgi which chased him into a vacant section of long grass.

I was right there only a few steps away when I saw the dog pounce on my rooster in the long grass. I was only seconds away, and I was too late. I yelled and snatched him away from the dog. Feeling his lifeless body as I comforted him my dreams were shattered.

I then made the eternal walk home. Neighbours were peering out their windows and coming outside to see what all the commotion was about. They watched as I walked down the middle of the street, bawling my eyes out. I was carrying my dead rooster, cradled in my arms with his head hanging low.

CLOSE
No rooster, no chickens and my chooks never even knew I got them a rooster that day.

The End

This website will be covering more topics such as:
Making Wills, Testamentary Trusts, Life & Funeral insurance, Care of your Pets, Organ Donation, Funeral details, choosing Caskets or making your own,choosing Burial Plots or spreading Ashes & some of the restrictions and laws, procedures to be Returned Home for burial overseas and so much more.

New topics and checklists – want to be informed when they are ready?
Add your first name and email address – see the box provided.

Leave a comment and share your own experiences.
If you have a question I will respond as soon as I can.

~Chrissie

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8 comments

  1. Hello, Like your website, easy to read and good content. Nice story about the rooster. Good Idea writting your memories, I’m going to talk about that to my children, they will be happy to read them self when older.
    LYne

  2. I am really inspired after reading your post and I am going to challenge myself to write a memoir…it is a journey of your own self-discovery and personal growth, and perhaps it will resonate with others and help them with theirs.

  3. Wow, Chrissie, what a fun artlcle and a great topic! Reading your post made me feel happy thinking about the good memoirs that I could write about my mom.

    My mom lived with me the last eight years of her life. She kept very busy sewing blankets and pillows for family and friends. The last three years of her life, she sewed ‘lap’ blankets for patients at a cancer center who were in wheelchairs and blankets and pillows for a homeless shelter.

    Everybody loved her stuff because of her bright colors and the variety of materials she used and for how quickly she could make things.

    I think writing memoirs can be healing and refreshing. Your article may have inspired me to write a few of my own stories.

    Thanks for sharing, and the very best to you,
    Joanie

    1. Wow Joanie, your mother sounds amazing, bringing so much comfort to others. A memoir sounds so fitting.
      Thanks for stopping by Joanie.

      Chrissie

  4. I often realise these days when we come together as a family, that someone always has a little story that I have never heard before and it surprises me every time, so writing memoirs like this is a great idea, thank you for the inspiration.

    1. Thanks Angela, this is so true and I find when I write a memoir, it usually uncovers a related incident buried deep in my memory – this memoir was originally about my beloved chooks then I remembered the rooster. Thanks for your comment.

      ~Chrissie

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