Memoir on My Mind (SOLSC 10)

Because I clearly just don’t have enough projects to focus on in the miles of time I have outside of work, I’ve taken on yet another.  I signed up to be part of The Memoir Project, a project to create 500 handwritten memoirs. (There are only 475 folks participating as of this moment, so you can still go sign up!)  In brief:

Take pause and hand write a story that defines you. Your memoir can be the story of your whole existence or a specific point in your life. This collection will travel in our Mobile Library and eventually be installed in our permanent collection at The Brooklyn Art Library, preserving a common human history through the eyes of those that lived it.

I signed up in early February, and a little notebook, complete with protective “sleeping bag,” arrived in the mail a week or so ago.  I’m allowed to write my memoir however I like, as long as I don’t use objects or processes that could fall off or damage another book in the collection, and as long as I stick to the maximum book measurements (5″ wide x 7″ tall x 1″ thick — which is much thicker than the notebook that was mailed out).  And, as long as my book is straight-up ink on paper, it will be digitized as part of the collection.  And I might even have a chance to read my memoir when the tour comes home to Brooklyn this summer.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the project, but I’ve yet to do any writing.  In part because I’ve been caught up with other things, but also because I’m thinking I want to make a different kind of book to write in.  I’m thinking the coptic-bound books I learned how to make at the Brainery might be good.

And, too, I’m still deciding what I want to do with my memoir.  The “story of my life” seems a little daunting to capture in one small notebook before the end of May, so “specific point in my life” seems the way to go … but how to choose?

Of course, the answer is to just start writing.  It’s much easier to make a choice when you have something to choose from.  So I think that’s my assignment: the VONA writers will be at my house in two weeks, which gives me a week to get a draft of something going so I can submit it to the group.  Time to start dragging the lake, dredge up some odd-bits from my past and start shaping them on the page …



Click over to Two Writing Teachers to read more of today’s slices!


14 thoughts on “Memoir on My Mind (SOLSC 10)

  1. Paul

    This sounds fantastic! An exercise I have my kids do (from a writing book whose name escapes me at this moment) is to write your life in a page, moving from your very first memory to today. They then highlight key images, moments, experiences that they’d like to explore further. I also get them to do work with the very first memory — how has the action of that first remembering set the table for your personality and relationships as they exist today? Fascinating stuff. Have fun digging…!


    1. I love the “first memory” exercise. I’ve used it a lot … though I’ve also found it wise to modify it slightly in light of the sometimes very painful first memories some students have.

      My life story in a page could be a great way for me to start … I like it!


  2. mag

    Wow! What a challenge. How exciting. I love that you’ve already jumped a bit past the writing into the presentation.
    So glad to be reading you again…..(.formerly theresapalinprincipal…..)


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