Friday, August 25, 2017

Memoir Your Way

Memoir Your Way, Tell Your Story through writing, recipes, quilts, graphic novels and more was written by the Memoir Roundtable.

CHAPTER 1 - "We say scrap it, quilt it, write it or cook it up so the family can have a tangible piece of their heritage," is the basic advice of the Memoir Roundtable, a group of six writers, crafters and workshop leaders. "When we turn memories into memoir, we build the bridge between the past and the future."

They describe the memoir as two stories - what you remember and what it means to you. Each author gives specific steps you can follow.

The book is easy to read and gives lots of information with photos showing what they are describing. It was copyrighted in 2016, so it should contain up-to-date information.

CHAPTER 2 - Five Simple steps to tell a true story was written by Joanne Lozar Glenn, an award-winning writer and memoir workshop leader. She believes in following author Anne LaMotte's advice to write small.

"Show us the moment," she advises. Think of yourself as a camera, focus on your theme, and arrange the scenes in an artful way.

Glenn gives us ideas on how to start, include the smallest details of your life in your own voice when crafting your story. Then treat your writing like play doh and re-shape it as you edit.

CHAPTER 3 - Around the Table: food and cookbook memoirs by Dianne Hennessy King, public television producer, cookbook editor, and cultural anthropologist, includes information on theme and finding your voice.

She offers 10 questions to jog your memory as you put your collection together. She gives various ways to present items that can be used to link the family generations, such as CDs, videos, books, articles or blogs.

CHAPTER 4 - Reinvent your Scrapbook by Katherine Nutt, memoir teacher, educational game inventor, and scrapper. She writes about what future generations may like to know and capturing these life events through photos, drawings and old scrapbook items. This might be a good way for visual thinkers to show and tell their stories. She briefly mentions digital scrapping and that mini memoir scrapbooks make nice gifts.

CHAPTER 5 - Create your Memoir as a Graphic Novel by Natasha Peterson, a content producer, author and graphic novel creator.

This is a fun chapter. She explains elements of graphic novels and stresses that there are no hard and fast rules. Do it your way.

CHAPTER 6 - Memoir Quilts, A Way to Celebrate Lives by Linda Pool, nationally known quilter and American Folk Art Museum winner. She says memory quilts are a lot more than casual quilts we had as children.

I can relate to this as my mother used scraps of old clothing and would embroider dates or short information in the squares. But these were made to be used, not saved, and they did not survive our childhood.

Pool mentions themes for the quilts, such as special moments, pets, trips, careers and many more. Memorial quilts can preserve family history and honor special people.

CHAPTER 7 - In Nuturing the Young Storyteller, Nadine Majette James, (children's literary expert and speaker) recommends involving children in family memoir projects. Help them tell their tales, she writes and gives suggestion for different age groups. Share your memoir projects with them. This gives them a sense of family history.

I now have a young grandson, so I am paying special attention to this chapter.

CHAPTER 8 - You Are the Bridge: Traditions and Heritage by Dianne Hennessy King.

A memoir is simply telling your story. You can start getting more family history by contacting family elders and friends. If you want to go further, this book gives print and digital resources for each type of memoir project.

She stresses that as you honor your ancestors' stories, you need to include your own. "Today is tomorrow's history."

Memoir Your Way includes sample projects, lists of needed supplies, hints and guidelines for each type of memoir. It is definitely a "how-to" book, full of great ideas, yet easy to read and understand.

As a writer, I have been making notes on my family's background and also have kept scrapbooks for years, so I have a start, but I also plan to try some of these different ideas myself.

I also agree with what Glenn writes near the end about getting over your fear of writing. Remember, there is no wrong way to tell your story.

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