A Memorial Day Message

A Memorial Day Message
Earlier this year, I blogged about veterans’ memoirs. War—and even peacetime service—can be such a disturbing, fascinating experience that writing about it can be therapeutic. Classes, support groups and funded projects have emerged to encourage vets to put their thoughts and memories down on paper. But if you’re on your own and want to write a war memoir, what are the guidelines?
Many of the members here at WriteMyMemoirs found our site because they want to write about their time on the front lines. Let’s go to the obvious—Yahoo.com—to help you out. Among Yahoo’s 10 Tips to Writing a True War Memoir is this valuable suggestion:
“Do not leave anything out. Living through a war is no easy task, and…having to relive…everything that you’ve already been through…can be a morose and daunting experience. However, a writer cannot let emotions get in the way of telling a true story….It’s our duty as veterans to give a full and accurate depiction.”
This piece also cautions against revealing your political views regarding the war, but I disagree. It’s your memoir! While it’s important to accurately describe the action and the details, it’s also informative and interesting for the reader to know your impressions. A war experience can influence your political outlook and, in some cases, change the direction of your life, so that chapter in your memoir can be critical. Be as courageous in writing about your military experience as you were in living it. At WriteMyMemoirs, we all thank you for your service.
http://voices.yahoo.com/10-tips-writing-true-war-memoir-7736548.html

Earlier this year, I blogged about veterans’ memoirs. War—and even peacetime service—can be such a disturbing, fascinating experience that writing about it can be therapeutic. Classes, support groups and funded projects have emerged to encourage vets to put their thoughts and memories down on paper. But if you’re on your own and want to write a war memoir, what are the guidelines?

Many of the members here at WriteMyMemoirs found our site because they want to write about their time on the front lines. Let’s go to the obvious—Yahoo.com—to help you out. Among Yahoo’s 10 Tips to Writing a True War Memoir is this valuable suggestion:

“Do not leave anything out. Living through a war is no easy task, and…having to relive…everything that you’ve already been through…can be a morose and daunting experience. However, a writer cannot let emotions get in the way of telling a true story….It’s our duty as veterans to give a full and accurate depiction.”

This piece also cautions against revealing your political views regarding the war, but I disagree. It’s your memoir! While it’s important to accurately describe the action and the details, it’s also informative and interesting for the reader to hear your candid impressions. A war experience can influence your political outlook and, in some cases, change the direction of your life, so that chapter in your memoir can be critical. Be as courageous in writing about your military experience as you were in living it. At WriteMyMemoirs, we all thank you for your service.

Tips For Exploring Some Memoir Topics In-Depth

Structure and organization can be the most challenging aspects of writing memoirs. Even if you do it the easiest way—start from birth and carry through chronologically until present day—you may hit topics that you want to explain more thoroughly. How do you do that?

Let’s say you want to indicate that the strongest influence on you was your father. It’s okay to take a few pages to talk about your dad even though it means mixing up the chronology. Maybe you mention the time he took you to your first major league baseball game. You talk about your experience at the ballpark, and then you can write something like, “Looking at my dad that day, I couldn’t foresee the impact he would have on my life. His love of collecting alone influenced my own dozen collections over the years.??? And you could continue with your career choice or anything else that reflected your father’s influence. It doesn’t all have to go in order.

Or maybe you had a childhood friend who was very important during your early years but not later in your life. If you want to let your readers know what happened to that friend, you can write about how the friend’s life turned out as you’re writing about your childhood together. You don’t have to wait until later in the book when it would be in context chronologically. As you write your memoirs, you’ll get more skilled at finessing the organization of the material you’re presenting.

Honor Your Pets in Your Memoirs

blog6I have a friend who just moved to a place that doesn’t allow pets, so she left behind, with trustworthy caretakers, a couple of cats she absolutely adores and misses terribly. This made me realize how large a role pets play in a lot of people’s lives. I urge you to include them in your memoirs.

In fact, among the various suggestions we make for structuring your life story—chronological is the most common, but view some other structure ideas for writing memoirs here—I’d like to add using each of your pets as a chapter. That doesn’t mean the chapter would revolve solely, or even primarily, around the pet. Rather, each pet would signify a changing era in your life. Perhaps you grew up caring for a frog, spent time in the army scratching behind the ears of a roaming dog and raised your children to ride horses. You could reminisce about how each treasured animal affected you, or just recall the events that took place when your furry, scaly or feathered pal was in your life.

Even without pets of my own, I look back fondly on various other people’s pets, from my brother’s Bichon “Sugar??? (photo here) and a friend’s great, wolflike mutt “Cooper??? to one sister-in-law’s Black Lab “Woodstock??? and another’s Maltese “Dickens.??? And my cat-loving friend? Years ago she had a sultry black feline named “Obadiah??? who always will have a piece of my heart and, I’m certain, will rate a mention in her memoirs.