I am diving deeply into my memoir project. The book is called Umbilical Cord: A Memoir of Adoption about my experience as an adoptee, finding and meeting my birth mother, and becoming a mother myself. It is a story about family, mother love, abondonment, secrets and hope; it is a story of discovery. I have been “working on” on this memoir for over decade, since just after I met my birth mother for the first time. Now, I am ready to show up for the work and inner journey of writing this book. I declared 2012 “the year I write this memoir”. It is February, I have the project dusted off, a big white sheet identifying the scenes I have written so far, and my memoir writing books on my desk. I have spent the past month “getting ready to write”. Now, I need to get down to it because note to self: thinking about writing is not writing!
Memoir writing causes me to be in the present but also pulled deeply into the past, while also holding a vision for the future. Five things I believe so far about memoir writing (please note I have been a journal writer for over 25 years)…
1) The more deeply I tell my own story, the more universal the story becomes.
2) Other peoples’ stories can help us learn something about ourselves.
3) Consensus building or approval seeking from family members (or key characters in the story) are not helpful elements of writing a memoir. Memoirs are not greatly improved by a large censor voice.
4) The more I write the more I want to write. Writing helps unlock writer’s block.
5) There can be a gift of healing through writing memoir, through understanding woundedness and re-storying our experiences. I once read, “Adoption is the only trauma where we expect the victim to be grateful.” I am exploring both the losses and the gains brought into my life through being an adoptee. I am doing this both on the page and in my heart.
Watch this blog for more musings on my memoir writing journey!
Deep Diving into Memoir Writing