Memory into Memoir

Beginnings are always difficult, vexing, frustrating. Where to begin? Anyone starting a memoir will see roiling before their eyes a thicket of people, a tangle of events, many befogged, some befuddled. How to reconstruct the past? Do you, as a writer, address it as a series of events, like falling dominos, one event leading inexorably to another — in other words, how-could-it-be-otherwise? Or as a quilt that can be ceaselessly ripped up and re-patterned, maybe using the same squares, but bringing them together under new motifs? Beginnings are messy. Acccept that. If you write Chapter One and expect the rest of the story to ribbon out from there, you could end up staring at those two words, Chapter One, for a very long time.”

Memory Into Memoir: A Writer’s Handbook by Laura Kalpakian (Univ of New Mexico Press, 2021)