January 26, 2009 Creative Play & Books on Craft for Memoir Writers
I am so excited that Joan signed up for that memoir class. I was deeply struck by what Joan said in her first comment about how she had always loved to write as a child! How wonderful that she is now retrieving the child within who loved to write, to play with words.
When we practice the things we loved to do as children, we recapture ourselves, our innocence, our pleasure in creating, our pleasure in making something. I had spent so much time with words the past seven or eight years with writing, reading, and teaching that I'd lost the joy I once felt doing these things. I felt a deep craving for something, an act of creativity that did not include words, a wordless activity. One of the things I most loved to do when I was young was to sew. My mother and my grandmother Keesler gave me my first lesson in sewing when I was five. I loved to sew, and then one day when I was in my twenties, I quit and did not begin to sew again until last year, nearly thirty years later. I always loved dolls, and when I began to sew again, I created little characters all my own, and my own patterns for characters and clothes, and the joy began to come back again, the joy of creating that comes when we have no other thought than just to create. My little dolls sit on my desk now and when I look at them I smile.
So that is what I've come back to now, bringing back the emotional experiences of childhood and putting a new skin of fiction on them. Today when you pick up your pen to write, instead of calling it work, call it your play, "write" as Flannery O'Connor said, "remembering the child you were." Today I'm going to play with words. I can feel the joy already!
Joan inspired me to look for some good books for writing memoir. So here's a few titles to check out:
1) Courage and Craft: Writing Your Life into Story by Barbara Abercombie
2) Old Friend From Far Away by Natalie Goldberg
3) Thinking About Memoir by Abigail Thomas
Have fun checking these out, and if anyone has a title of a favorite book on the writing craft, I'd love to have you share it here.