Redefining Memoir

Many people assume that self-published memoirs are the self-indulgent ramblings of old generals, muttered over a glass of port to obedient stenographers. Hey, that’s not what I think it’s about.

We are writing memoirs to create legacies for those who come after us. Your memoir can be a book of memories of the smells of your childhood, or a catalogue of the buttons in your grandmothers’ button box, or the compilation of the poetry you have never got around to putting out for anyone to read or the story of your father’s first wife that no one told you about until you were 23.

Why publish it? Well, because we value our lives, we value the life experience we have had to date, and we wish to put it into a form that can be lasting. We may not reach a wide broad audience, but our families will have a book or two that holds some of the history, some of the vision and approach to life that the memoirist has captured and put to paper. It is, in a sense, the way for us to live on. Not through fame, or fortune, but in the circle of those who mean something to us, or to whom our lives may have meaning. I am a firm believer in the process of gathering our past and bringing it into a form that has value, has meaning for those in the future, maybe even generations down the line. And why not?

So I raise my glass of port to the old muttering general, whose war stories do, after all, have value, and meaning. Not perhaps the value and meaning he may imagine they do, but for a nephew or a great-grandson, for a researcher in the future, and perhaps, even for the obedient stenographer,  the memoir can have a significance. A self-published memoir can perhaps find its way into the hands of someone who never knew the memoirist, but who can find something in it. And for the writer, the process of life-review that a memoir facilitates is a priceless experience.

Putting out your memoirs doesn’t mean your life is over, in fact it affirms the opposite. The process enriches and deepens your life. “Oh, you should write a book!” people say when they hear of remarkable events and experiences.  I go one step further, and say you should write a book to discover that indeed your life events and experiences are remarkable, just in their essence. Pulling out the essence of meaning from even the most prosaic daily life can create a poetic memoir.

Sitting down to write your memoir calls forth new facets of yourself, as you witness your life, or one aspect of it. Then you can share this intense process with those you love. With print-on-demand publishing, you can have your memoirs perfect-bound, distribute them to friends and family without breaking the bank.

At Alphaglyph, I help the memoir writing process with coaching, and I also can help with editing so the words will actually carry the meaning you want them to convey. Or simply to encourage the process and help with layout or printer contact. I help you take your memoir as far as it can go, and put it into form for you, helping it become a true reflection of the value in the sense memory, the mind memory and the heart memory of meaningful experience; the value in life – as lived.


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