Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Finding yourself through memoir

My memoir class met tonight for the second session of the spring semester. It simply amazes me how those women have bonded and will share the most personal secrets--sometimes blurting them out, which is what I did tonight. Something we were talking about touched a nerve in me, and I told about an incident I had never ever mentioned to anyone--not my bad, but that of someone close to me at the time. It's wonderful to be in a group where there is such trust--what is said there never leaves that room. And, as Jordan always warns me, "Don't blog about this, but . . . ." and then she proceeds to tell me some tidbit. So, no, I can't share. But take my word--it's fascinating. This much I can share:
One class member recounted a story about a strange woman she met periodically over the years, and she said it was only in the writing that she realized the significance of those meetings and the message she was supposed to get from them. Memoir is indeed a way of discovering yourself. Another woman described her parents' descent into old age, and I suggested I wanted to hear more about her, more about how she felt. We have moved into fiction, and one woman read a part of a short story that was gripping, though she had some things to work on.
The whole time I was leading the class, I was babysitting--sort of. Jacob was in the back watching a DVD, but close to the end of the class he called for me and said he was hungry (I had bought a Lunchable for him that he despised) so Linda and I collaborated on fixing a pbj. He came in to greet the ladies as they arrived and charmed them all. After they left he was through with TV and decided to follow me wherever I went--we had some interesting conversations, but it's no wonder I find myself bone-weary tonight.
I did mention to the class that this morning I heard Diane Rhem interview a woman named Stacy Lannert, author of Redemption, a memoir about her father's sexual abuse of her and her sister and her ultimate act of shooting him, for which she spent time in prison. In the interview she came across as a remarkable woman, charming, open, frank, and dedicated to seeing that no children suffer as she had. I recommend the book highly, even though I haven't read it. It sounds like everything a memoir should be--looking back and making sense out of your own life experiences. That's what I hope I can lead these women to do--and maybe do myself. I'm going to write a piece for next time, though I never read my pieces unless we run out of class material.

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