The title could be misleading to some of you who are not writers of memoir, but it does describe the system I am using to write my personal memoir. This system is one that has evolved over some 30 years and allows me to expose and write memoir in chunks of memory episodes as they come to mind. Why am I writing this blog for cyberspace? Primarily for those who are interested in leaving behind their own personal life story, that they may use this system to write in an irregular manner over time. The system involves personal memories, opinions, letters of importance, and even short stories. The key to the system is a simple organizational scheme that allows the writer to categorize and collect the narrations in a manner that make sense to maintain over the activities of writing memoir. Another reason for a simple announcement of this system is that I am also crafting a 6 to 8 hour workshop to be presented in 2 hour sessions to facilitate hands on experience for the recipients of the workshop.
I am big on personal memoir as a way taking your place in history. I recently was interviewed on a radio program called “Story Teller’s Campfire” regarding some of the chunks I had written up to that date and the tag line was “Not Everyone is a Writer But, Every One Has a Story to Tell.” Wide acclaim for the memoir reviewed during the interview won the “Marble Award” for the “Best Broadcast Show of 2010 for a Literary Work”. To hear the interview yourself, you can go to my website to listen to it. The link is http://www.gwsweb.org/GP/Stories/Audio.html and click on “Journaling Memoirs.” The accompanying link to “Research Methodology” reflects on use of a journal in genealogical activities. Feel free to click on it and listen to the evolutionary progress my journaling has taken.
Couple my inclination towards personal stories left behind, with what is on the bench in labs going through concept proving phases, it is more than an almost definite possibility that our descendants will be able to view us as individuals in hologram form while listening to memories we have recorded for them. That is a whole different topic; full of notions that seem to be way out there so to speak, but as an engineer, with a BSEE degree and a design engineering background, whose career was centered on bringing weird ideas from the bench to product, I see this to be a very plausible concept. Can you imagine being face to face with your great grandfather, listening to his voice, seeing his dress, and hearing his story as only he could tell it. What insight that would be to who you came from and perhaps who you are. For those who doubt my claims here, you can refer to “The Future of the Mind” by Dr. Michio Kaku, an American futurist, a theoretical physicist, who many of you may have seen and listened to on some of the PBS series of television broadcasts as well as YouTube TED broadcasts.
What does all of this have to do with writing in chunks you may ask? In simple form, your life history is central to your story being left behind in a flavor only you can provide. Without your efforts to write for posterity, your descendants will be left in the same boat as we are today, that of being challenged to somehow write our ancestor’s narratives with a lot of research and objectively attempting to put the story together without projection of ourselves into the narrative. A big task that for me is, fun in the research and enjoyable in the writing, but I am still lacking the answer to questions I have about my ancestor that only he or she could answer. I believe there are many others in a similar situation out there as has been in the past and will be in the future, unless we take a moment of reflection to determine the worth and motivation to leave our personal story behind. In leaving our story behind, it would be one that goes beyond the normal vital records and social documentation currently on record, those that may track us through life and will be available to our future generations, but your memoir notifies the future generations of who you were as a person.
Having said all of that, with Writing in Chunks, a journalistic style of writing memoir, you as an author of memoir can take advantage of the opportunities that exist when your reflection on memories are triggered. Regardless of your talent for writing, if you you leave your descendants with nothing but guess work, albeit researched, to portray your existence, God only knows what will be the portrayal of you in the future.