Jerry Waxler and I have something in common. We’re both memoir evangelists, writers and writing instructors passionately promoting the power of memoir—for writers and readers alike.
In his recent book, Memoir Revolution, Jerry makes the case that the recent groundswell of memoirs exerts an effect on society. From my own perspective, I’ve seen how writers making public their individual struggles with (for example) addictions, uncommon diseases, family abuse, and assimilation (or resisting assimilation) have made the larger community aware of private battles most of us either didn’t know of or treated as unfortunate, but isolated, incidents.
But Jerry notes that, “Memoirs provide us with an exciting, deep way to understand ourselves and each other. [They] break down barriers.” Memoir Revolution shows us that these personal stories aren’t just therapeutic outpourings, but contributions to culture and the human family.
Jerry’s deep reading of hundreds of memoirs is evident in Memoir Revolution, which organizes many titles into categories for us. One of my favorites is the chapter, “Giving Back the Wisdom of the Ages.” It addresses a longing many of us feel to go back and interview our ancestors to gain valuable insights into their (and therefore our) history.
Jerry wrote this book for those who write or read memoir or might be persuaded to do so. (“Memoir Revolution might help them take the plunge,” he says.) If you wonder if there’s any reason to write about your life, see Jerry’s blog post, Ten Reasons Anyone Should Write a Memoir.
Don’t know how to write a memoir? Check his post, 5 Memoir Starters for Beginners. Oh, and find writing classes or a coach for skill development and support.
If you’re considering writing your own memoir, Jerry suggests asking yourself if you’re ready to make the necessary commitment, and how you’ll find the time to write. Later you’ll want to think about “how to make the memoir compelling.” That is, how can you turn a collection of facts about your life into a story that’s interesting and meaningful to others?
If you’re intrigued by memoir, besides reading Memoir Revolution, you’ll want to visit the rich trove of resources at Jerry’s Memory Writers Network. For memoir writing and reading tips, follow Jerry Waxler on Twitter.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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