Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Unburdening the Bridges

I've been misled in my thinking, or rather, I mislead myself years ago when I first considered memoir writing and my childhood.  First, I thought being the youngest of 9 was a story in itself, with all the characters to draw from, the odd clashes and bang-ups, but it isn't.  Most of those memories aren't mine, I don't own the stories behind them because they didn't happen to me, I was just looking over my shoulder while playing dress up in my big sister's clothes.

Then I thought I'd dive a little deeper, ring myself out by depositing small glimpses all around the blogosphere.  It helped seeing that when I really hunker down in my skin and examine the early years a lot of my family disappears.  I'm not saying that I want them to disappear, only that they fade out creating their own rotations leaving my perception that much clearer.  

In reading Vivian Gornick's highly acclaimed memoir instructional The Situation and the Story I have come to realize that my place within my family, my parents, siblings, the divorce & subsequent moves result not in a story at all, but the situation surrounding a story I have yet to fully tease out.

Tonight I am breathing a sigh of relief and letting myself relax knowing my story is unbinding.  The words will come.


  1. Just this afternoon I saw Gornick's book on my shelf and thought about taking it down for a reread. Thanks--now I have.

  2. Good for you, Vicky. The journey is just as important as the writing itself, IMHO.

    I have an award for you at my blog.

  3. Angela, as I mentioned on your blog, so glad I stopped by. Listened to Old Friend in the car yesterday and it really opened my eyes to a few things that have been bothering me--namely finding a structure.

    Sweepy, Thanks again for the award. It's very sweet of you. And you are right, it is becoming quite a journey.

  4. Victoria,

    I should go down to my cabin to make sure I have this right...but it is 11ish pm and not a lot of moon tonight. I was using Your Life As Story for a bit--helped me map out some outlines, and is it Tristen Rainier? lays out some different structures that were fun to consider.

    Wish I could say it helped me plunk out my finished etc., but I am still wading along like you with all the disparate stories sitting at the fringe, waiting for me to have lived long enough to thread them together. I wish us both luck...I do, lately, for whatever reason, trust it'll fall into place.

  5. Tania,

    I bought both of these books together, The Situation and the Story and Your Life As Story. I've heard great things about both, but chose to start with Gornick since, quite honestly, it's shorter and It takes me ages to read anything.

    I'm so glad to hear about the structures in the second book. Though none of these little blips are woven yet, I'm feeling much like you, that they will indeed come together and tell a complete story.

  6. I really like how you describe this, Victoria: the situation surrounding a story I have yet to fully tease out.

    I'm not writing a memoir, but that bit resonated with me.