Writing a memoir; Mom’s Story

Lori Papers Wednesday, February 27, 2013 Writing a memoir
I have spent a fair amount of time this winter, in my self imposed isolation writing a story down that until I began the project, realized has forever been a verbal telling. Bits and pieces of it have been used by me in explanations of myself, defenses of my behavior, for shock appeal, in therapy, in relationships…It occurs to me I have been telling these fragments for all my adult life. And there are copious notes to self, black, ugly, goop that made my stomach feel as tho it had lead in it that I wrote in the hand of a mad woman onto the page as therapy – to get it out of me, anywhere but where it had lodged. The story is about the woman in the photograph (which if you’d like to see it you will have to access my other blog Loripapers.blogspot.com, as WordPress is rather troublesome to edit); my mother.
I have been practicing the craft of writing for almost 25 years. 17 of those in a more or less professional capacity self publishing a
4 or 6 page newsletter that has a paid, ebb and flow subcsribership of 60-100 people. In the routine of this and being studiously budget conscious I strive for under 6 pages of content. The content is of gardening in Rocky Mountain climates, farming lavender, ancient earth lore, and living a rustic, off grid life at my cabin. Keeping it in its brief format has honed my skills, taught me the value of brevity and challenged me to be blatantly honest and quick to the point. I have often thought the same about texting, especially when I had a flip phone or limited characters. It made me be real creative with abbreviations and simpler ways of saying my piece. With these years of writing behind me and the experience and now perspective of my life with her, only now am I able to thread the tattered, over told tales into a cohesive fabric, draped with narrative, anecdotes, and an appreciation I never had while she was alive. The working title of this first part memoir is “My Mother’s Story” but in my mind’s eye, I can so easily see the dust jacket of the book with just her name on it in some florally script; “Rosalie”. Maybe the working name is the subtitle. As I write it I keep thinking a pattern will present itself-a theme. But so far the only thing that spills into all the pages is bourbon, and I can feel my mom rolling in her grave at my inkling to fit it onto the book jacket somehow. Really, there is no need. It comes up enough in the pages. Just last night as I was transiting from one story of her to the next I mention that you’d think she was a bad parent with the alcoholism interwoven as it was. On the contrary, mom and dad were actually great parents, they raised two independent, rebellious yet respectful, adroit, driven children. My brother and I never wanted for anything. I will tell you, that three women, their own memoirs, have greatly inspired me to finally put it on the page: Mary Karr’s “Liar’s Club” and “Lit” rang so true, hit so close to home, that I am forever grateful for her bold, brash look at herself while at the same time showing her innocence and vulnerability. The same can be said for both Jeannette Walls in “Glass Castle”; the line in the beginning of the book where she is rolling up the window of the limousine that has picked her up for her New York City job so that her homeless, dumpster diving parents don’t see her, and Joyce Maynard with “At Home in the World”, where she later wonders and is baffled why no responsible, clear thinking adult ever stepped in to save her from herself when she was a mere 18 and in a strange relationship with a 53 year old J.D. Salinger. The integrity with which these women revealed their story to us is my guiding light. I will share excerpts of my memoir with you here.

Lori Parr at 11:14 PM Share No comments: Post a Comment › Home View web version About Me Lori Parr Notoriously known as Lavender Lori, recently divorced, currently a gypsy, looking for the meaning of life… View my complete profile Powered by Blogger