What is Memoir
- Karen Hamilton, 2004
An excerpt from “Putting Back Together the Broken World with Words”
Therapy is a form of autobiographical writing. It asks several questions:
Ø Where is our true story?
Ø Where is our true myth?
Ø Is there truth in our story at all?
There are many versions of a life – all are true, all are fiction – it depends on the time
in which the life is being told. As Robert Elbaz states, "Autobiography is fiction, and fiction is autobiography. Factual
truth is irrelevant to autobiography." We change our story in order to create ourselves – but is it our self we are
creating or the self as a cog in the wheel of society? The memoir writer has the opportunity to re-create themselves.
Memoir Therapy, the goal is to uncover the many selves that we have lived. By so doing, we are able to ferret out those selves
that we allowed societal influences to create for us and move into a more authentic self. The words we bring to the page create
a myth of our personal self. By definition a myth is something that was true but now is probably not. By recording our memoirs,
our myths, we provide ourselves the healing power of words to transform our story. And the more we write the more healing
we bring to ourselves. It is through the serial memoir that memoir approaches its true and ultimate form – an account
through time of a person’s life, a story with many beginnings that does not end until the author himself reaches the
end. And even then, the story continues, doesn’t it?
gather strength from our words, from our stories. We set into motion a flood of communication that brings us healing. We listen
to, we read, we write words, words, words - the meaning of the word is superfluous, it changes every time we reach
for a new creation of our self. And is that all that matters in that end? That the stories themselves, not their meaning,
give us the power to create ourselves?