The memoir writing group has been meeting since spring of 2016 to share their written memories in an informal setting. At the outset, the group subscribed to the “Palm of the Hand” method of writing, in which group members shared at each meeting a one page piece describing one particular incident in their lives. Over time members would have a number of memories that they might compile into an autobiography. The ideas for each piece were generated from one word memory prompts, a method that is especially helpful for those who don’t know where to begin in writing about the past.
As the group evolved it became apparent that group members had many more projects in mind than could be encompassed by the one word prompts. In the new session, participants will be encouraged to work on their own projects however they might envision them. One member is particularly interested in chronicling her experiences teaching English in a foreign country. Many are interested in recording memories and family stories to pass down to their grandchildren. Still another young woman is recording the very recent antics and sayings of her elementary aged children, while the memories are fresh.
In the new sessions, memoir writers will be encouraged to write in whatever style or format they desire, as long as the writing can be classified as memoir. Some people prefer to tell their stories from the very beginning, sharing one installment each time with the larger group. Others prefer to concentrate on the “Palm of the Hand” method of concentrating on one memory at a time. Some memoir members have experimented with telling a memory poetically, in verse. Memory prompts and ideas will still be provided at each session for those who feel they work better with an “assignment.” Participants write their memoirs at home and share them at the meeting.
One might wonder what advantage participation in the memoir writing group has over simply working on one’s writing individually at home. For many, it is the discipline that the group affords. Having to complete a page or two in a month’s time gives the person the impetus to get started, rather than waiting for the “someday,” which never comes. Many find camaraderie in meeting with other writers who’ve had similar life experiences. Participants often enjoy sharing ideas for memoirs and how to write them with others.
Beginning with the September meeting, the group will meet on the third Tuesday of each month in the Library’s Meeting Room. There is no cost or need to register for this program. New members are welcome at any time, or just drop in to see what it is all about.
For questions about this, or any other library program or service, call the Library at 768-READ (7323).