Tag Archives: Memoir

My Memoir Monster

If my memoir is a monster
Taking on a life of its own
Does that make me Dr. Frankenstein
Madly nurturing what I’ve grown

Or am I more like Dr. Jekyll
Consumed by my Mr. Hyde
A raging egomaniac
Fueled by wanton pride

Maybe it’s Leviathan
The great monster of the sea
Tamed at last by God alone
Just like the sin in me

I wish it were a jigsaw puzzle
Of Bigfoot or old Nessie
With pieces that fit neatly together
Instead of being so messy

In the end it’s just my story
Dying to be told
One page at a time, not in rhyme
Hopefully before I am old

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Decided to share this for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub today.

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Endless Roller Coaster

It occurred to me the other day
that I’m on a roller coaster ride
The Cyclone on Coney Island perhaps
or Goliath at Six Flags

I chug up the hill on encouragements
Your story needs to be told
You are such a good writer
I love your perspective
You are so brave

I reach the top, elated and determined
Ready to conquer all my doubts and fears
Ready to write my memoir
and tell my story to the world

Then comes the drop, racing downhill
at breakneck speed to the bottom
to unconquered doubt and fears
No one cares about your story
You’re no Mary Karr or Maya Angelou
You can’t let people know everything about you
What will your family think?
You must be crazy, just give up now

Then just this morning I realized
if I was on a roller coaster ride
it would be over by now
because they only last about two minutes

Guess I’ll get back in line for another ride

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Sharing for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub today.

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Meanwhile

This is a little vignette I wrote in response to a prompt during my memoir class with Sarah Thebarge. (I learned so much from her.) The prompt was to think about the resolution of our story arc and write about what other things were happening “meanwhile.”
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Meanwhile, Benton laughed, his infectious smile and unmistakeable dimple brightening every room. He did need me. And I needed him.

He’s my only child, my only living child, and he’s growing every day. We watch Looney Toons together and giggle. He notices, even at two years old, when the animator makes a slight mistake. For two or three frames Elmer Fudd’s hat is the wrong direction; for a fraction of a second Bugs Bunny stands beside a sign with the words lined up differently than the frame before. He sees so much that I do not and opens my eyes to possibilities I never dreamed of.

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I decided to share this for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub today. It’s not really a poem, but some of what I’ve learned at dVerse about concrete language in poetry is incorporated in this little vignette that will likely appear somewhere in my memoir when I finish it.

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My Story in 44 Words

Another poem written during my coaching class with Sarah Thebarge.
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My Story – A Quadrille

They stole my innocence, my peace
Left me powerless, without any choice
Pain buried in alcohol, drugs,
academic success
Unhealed pain, despair, darkness
never leave, never will

God calls me from exile by His Word
His people who love me
His dream of forgiveness

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Resurfacing in Blue

I should have seen it coming
this sense of feeling blue
Delving into trials of the past
to write a memoir that’s true

I’m doubtful that this venture
is worth the time and pain
Will I survive this process
where no secrets will remain

Or will there be some truths
odd feelings buried deep
that I’ll find I cannot share
but to myself I’ll keep

It’s easy to write stories
of cerulean skies above
What I want to convey at last
is God’s gracious love

The writing is not easy
for it has been said
Where no tears in the writer
the prose is surely dead

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The Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write about something blue. I didn’t really have time today, but this poem kept nagging at me, so here it is. I hope to get back to dVerse later to do some reading. Do pop over and see what other poems of the great blue you will find.

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Choices

Life is a series of choices

Some seem insignificant
but have life-changing impact

Others we agonize over
but are insignificant
in the grand scheme of things

Some choices
appear to be the only option
We can’t see the consequences to come
or alternatives before us

I’ve spent many long hours
pondering the” what ifs” of choices
that turned out bad.
If only I hadn’t…
then maybe everything would be better.

But ultimately
there is but one choice that truly matters
It is a choice we all face

Do I trust God or do I go it alone?

All is not rainbows and roses
if one chooses to trust
Hardship and regret don’t instantly
melt away

Life is still a series of choices
including the choice
to trust God with my mistakes

Including the choice
to share my story
my series of choices
with the world
in the hopes of encouraging another

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Sifting Beans

I’m sifting through dry beans
picking out rocks
tossing damaged beans
skipping the limas
keeping the good ones
planning a steaming hot
pot of bean soup with bacon
carrots, celery, and onion
a few of my favorite herbs

Or maybe I’m writing a memoir

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It’s Quadrille Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and Toni offers the word “skip” for inclusion in our 44-word poems today. I’m thinking about what to leave in and what to leave out of the memoir I’m writing.

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Cry, Pray, Write

So you want to know how to write a memoir. Well here’s what I know.

Step one: Ask yourself if you’re nuts.  If yes, proceed to step two.

Step two: Attend a writing conference for inspiration.

Step three: Go home and cry because you don’t want to reveal the level of detail one conference speaker said you would have to.

Step four: Pray and ask God for direction.

Step five: Write and self-publish an autobiographical poetry book that vaguely addresses the story you want to write.

Step six: Tell yourself the poetry book is a sufficient memoir because, after all, we don’t know what Paul’s thorn was either.

Step seven: Have several people ask when you’re going to write your story.

Step eight: Write an outline of your story in your Color Notes app on your phone, then write two book proposals, one for your memoir and one for a devotional.

Step nine: Attend another writers conference and pitch your book ideas to editors and agents.

Step ten: Get sidetracked for three months working on a “marketable” idea from the agent, ignoring advice from a spiritual writing mentor.

Step eleven: Get further sidetracked writing and self-publishing a holiday poetry book.

Step twelve: Lie awake at night running scenes in your head of what you need to write, but not get up to actually write them down because you don’t want to disturb the sleeping dog.

Step thirteen: Tell your friends and family you’ve decided to write your memoir. (This step may be optional, but is helpful if you’re the kind of person who once they’ve said they are doing something has to do it.)

Step fourteen: Decide you need to learn more about the craft of memoir writing.

Step fifteen: Read memoir by spiritual mentor from writing conference.

Step sixteen: Read another memoir, and a book about how to write memoir, and another memoir, and another book about how to write memoir, then start reading a third memoir but decide it’s not believable and make a mental note not to write your memoir that way.

Step seventeen: Take advice from book on memoir writing and simply start writing one paragraph, one scene at a time.

Step eighteen: Get into text discussion with a friend who suggests yet another book on memoir writing you should read. Order said book on your Kindle, realize what you’ve ordered is actually a different book by that author, then order the paperback of the first book from Amazon.

Step nineteen: Write poems about writing memoir.

Step twenty: Stop worrying that your first draft is terrible (because as Anne Lamott says, they all are),  and resolve to write, edit, rewrite, and persevere.

I’m afraid that’s as far as I’ve gotten so you’ll have to come back next year for the remaining steps.

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The NaPoWriMo prompt for today is to write a “How To” poem. Since I am in the process of writing (or trying to write) my memoir, I thought I’d share a little step-by-step how-to on how to do it.

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Memories

Yesterday, Toni at Kanzen Sakura commented thanking me for writing two haibuns. I replied that I’d only written one. Apparently that’s because the second one was still in the works. So I’m posting this second haibun now for Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub.

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Working on my memoir, giving in to the compulsion to communicate my story to whoever might need to read it, I decided I would have more success in actually getting the words on the page if I hand wrote. There is something about typing that makes me feel like it has to be perfect the first time, but handwriting builds in an automatic rewrite when I later type it up. So I rummage through my cloth basket of blank journals for just the right one. [This takes some time because there are probably 20 or more journals in that basket, evidence of another compulsion]. I find a 150-page spiral bound notebook with only 10 pages used up and decide that’s perfect. I peruse what’s been written and come across these words, written 18 ½ years ago:

It takes courage to write. Courage is not the same as fearlessness. Rather, courage is writing in spite of fear.

Just been reading “The Courage to Write” by Ralph Keyes. It got me thinking about writing a book about the effect being raped at the age of 14, while still a virgin, had on my life—the teen years, college, marriage, sex, life, thoughts, depression [although genetics had something to do with this as well].

I must be crazy. I can’t write such a book. Or rather I can, in that I’m sure I have enough material and could actually write it, but would I ever be willing to let anyone read it?

Crazy indeed. Yet here I am, almost two decades later, still compelled to write that book. Only now the story is complete. There is more than just the pain and suffering of trauma to tell; there is also the story of healing and redemption. Now there is courage.

Memories fester
Hidden on journal pages
Die and are reborn

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