On February 24, 2013, I celebrated my father-in-law’s 100th birthday.
Arthur Blowen has been gone now for 28 years, and the people who were his peers and friends are mostly gone. There are many family stories about him. They are told as mythic journeys, Arthur slaying the dragons that assailed him. Here’s the plot line of his early life as a hero’s journey. Below is a brief review of 15 years of his life–the part of his life that makes for an interesting subject for a memoir (vs. autobiograhy).
The stories tell about how he quit high school [seeming defeat at the hand of the dragons] to help support his family who valued his financial contribution more than they prized his education. [the hero’s battle] He went to night school because he really wanted to go to college [the hero’s call to which he strives to rise to] and saved his money. At 23, he enrolled in Bates College (Lewiston, Maine) but had to take six years to earn his BA as he had to support himself [hero’s struggle as the dragons seek to defeat him]. He served as a telephone switch board operator at Central Maine General Hospital and waited on tables at the president’s house at Bates. He sang church solos around Lewiston and Auburn (Maine). Finally at 29, he received his undergraduate degree and went on to graduate school–Hartford (CT) Seminary. [Hero’s arrival within reach of the prize] Finally in his early thirties, Arthur was ordained and began a career a a Congregational minister. [The hero brings the grail to the world.]
A task I hope you will pick up: frame a story you are writing in terms of a hero’s journey.
Do you have a hero’s journey to share? Write it below.
We have helped many people whose lives demanded to be recorded but who themselves were not writers to create interesting and well-written memoirs.
We listen to you speak your story. We ask you a multitude of questions. Then we get to work writing. We come back to you with text and you make lots of corrective comments and we ask you a whole lot of new questions. Then, we go back to writing again.
Over time, your story develops into a memoir—one that you have shaped at every stage of the writing process.
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