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the painful truth

Tell the painful truth in a memoir, or why washing family laundry in public is difficult

It is not always easy to tell the painful truth in a memoir—in fact, it usually isn’t.

Anyone writing a memoir must face the challenge of how to tell the truth of his or her story at the same time as one does not want to cause harm or pain. I have written elsewhere about telling the truth in a memoir. Those posts have been more on the objective level—the theory of telling the truth.

A Sugary Frosting has brought me face to face – personally – with the challenge of telling the truth. I’m not a great fan of “silly me thinking I knew how to tell the truth before I had to face the challenge!” so this is not going there. No, this piece is simply an application of what I  already knew and have written about.

A Sugary Frosting is a book that I co-authored with Martha Blowen, my deceased spouse. The title to the book came from Martha’s journals. There was an entry in which she referred to her childhood as being A Sugary Frosting with life “having to be sweet and sticky.” This definitely was part of the painful truth. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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2 Responses to Tell the painful truth in a memoir, or why washing family laundry in public is difficult

  1. Leslie Williford August 6, 2016 at 1:02 PM #

    Denis, I tip my hat to you Sir. What an amazing guy to do what you did for your wife! Unexpectedly (it’s before noon I can mispell if i want) I related so much to that post of yours and may need to digest. I wanted to say first that I too have wondered if I will be able to complete my memoir in my lifetime and what would happen to all my little memory notes and bits of writing if I were to pass tomorrow or three months from now. For years I’ve been in the belly of the whale where I know what life has handed me to do but I have not wanted to get myself ready to accomplish the task. Now I have half heartedly started but even so I’m dragging my feet. What is really in my way why the truth of course. It’s a killer, it’s something like thee elephant in the room no one wants to mention. My guess is, she’s aware of her “unique yet unwarranted and unwanted remarks”. Probably brought to her attention by some gas station attendant or landscape artist at some point in her life. The real problem is it coming from you but maybe she will respect you more for having the cutspa to point it out. If not she’ll get over it.

  2. Denis Ledoux August 12, 2016 at 11:08 AM #

    Leslie, let me encourage you to structure your writing by scheduling a regular writing time—even 30 minutes a day can produce much over time.

    Do not let the pain of difficult memories lead you into putting off writing. Instead, let your desire to express your unique self be the guide that sets you on the path to completing your memoir.

    Good luck and keep in touch.

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