'Memoir'... 'a slice of life'
- Sian Prior writes about her latest memoir 'Another Round - On Writing a Second Memoir'
- 2023_2_sianprior.com-another_round_on_writing_a_second_memoir.pdf ....
- A useful article on memoir writing which distinguishes between autobiography and memoir - https://writers.com/how-to-write-a-memoir
Some features of 'As Time Goes By'
- The use of monthly topics – ‘memoir fragments’ . We have developed a rich library of topics over the past nine years, largely from ABC Open’s ‘500 words’ project, but increasingly from a diverse range of sources, including ourselves!
- Poetry as Memoir - it is fine to submit a poem, rather than prose
- The course is not a 'skills focussed' course, but a course which encourages us to developing our own voice by writing regularly and encouraging & supporting others
- Word Limits – we aim towards the target of 500 words, but there are no penalties for not meeting this... under or over!
- Writing can be a cathartic process – it is important to look after our personal well being. In terms of sharing stories in class, our guideline is to avoid sharing stories which still cause considerable emotional pain. Even when we think we'll be fine, we can still find it difficult to read some stories aloud - something we all understand. This doesn't mean not writing about such issues, but being thoughtful about whether to read them out in class.
- Confidentiality issues can arise when writing about real people (sometimes doing so negatively) - the guideline is to handle privacy issues with care, both when telling stories and with sharing news of stories told in class with others. (Chatham House Rules?).
- Handling gender and other sensitive or ethical issues in our stories - sometimes the way we write will reflect our recollections of the time, however we do try to apply gender neutral guidelines. It is rarely an issue... but can come up!
- It may well be that while we are working towards finding truth in memoir, other people have different recollections of the same events.
- We do at times have discussions in class geared to develop our understanding of the nature of memoir and memoir writing, and have included a 'memoir review' topic on our list.
- Publishing our stories - over the years we have built up a collection of stories on the website, with the 'authors' stories joined by 'stories by topic' during Co-vid, when people couldn't come to class but enjoyed reading the monthly stories on-line.
- Sending in stories before class allows them to be screened on the wall, which helps us all in hearing and focusing on the stories. Do this if you can, however it is not compulsory.
- Editing suggestions – a gentle approach to suggesting edits before publishing on the website - occasional changes to help with readability, and the odd elimination of an unnecessary swear word or two for publication posterity!
Compiling memoir based stories for our families - some new developments
‘Storyworth.com’ storyworth.com $99 for subscription and one black and white interior book
‘The Life Writer’ – https://thelifewriter.com offers a format which may work well with our stories, having categories which could work… it is $95 (?US) and it may only be for one copy. Worth finding out more about!
‘Memlife.com’ An online tool – https://www.memlife.com I’m trialling it; it looks very user friendly! It’s free – at least for a basic purpose. It doesn’t have prompts, but is easy to use when you remember to use it!
Suggestion - we monitor what is happening, take out test subscriptions if they seem to be useful, .... we generally 'watch this space!'
Sharing this month's topics - 'The Season I ...' and 'New in Town'
Alternatives for new class members (or members who haven't written on these topics)”
· ‘New in Town’ ‘Have you ever been the new person in town, or did someone else's arrival have a profound impact on you? Share your story in 500 words’ or
· ‘The Year that Made Me’ ‘Write about a year which made a particular difference in your life’s journey. Over to you!’ or
· 'I Was There' 'Have you experienced a significant news, historical or cultural event first-hand? Share your personal piece of history in 500 words’.
Topic List for 2023
Next month's topics
(Suggestion by Graham Jensen for 2023)
Tell us about a memento, an object (or a group of objects) from a time in your past that has been important to you, and why. You always carry it with you whenever you move and find it very hard to let go of.
Maybe it has a story behind it, or it's been a powerful presence in your life. Bring along the item if you can, or at the very least, a photo!
Sample Life Matters 2022– El’s silver ladle
Alternative topic - ‘Failure’
Although 'As Time Goes By' is not a ‘skills focussed course’, feel free to follow the guidelines relating to and share your story on 'Failure' at our next session - ‘Write about a failure you’ve experienced – from the commonplace to the catastrophic – in 500 words’.
How to Write Your Story in 500 Words (ABC Open)
ABC Open Planning Sheet – 500 words - Topic Failure (as above)
(At the other extreme - a very personal Failure story https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/abc-open-500-words3b-failure/5125288)