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writing about difficult times in a memoir

Writing About Difficult Times in a Memoir

Writing about difficult times in a memoir requires some fortitude.

Recently, in a store, I looked up to see a woman enter, a woman I had not seen in a few years. She was someone I knew from 40 years ago and, as we live in the same area, I continue to meet regularly . We spoke briefly, superficially as one does on meeting someone one has not seen in a while, and soon she asked me, “Do you know what happened to Ronnie (not her son’s real name)?” Well, I hadn’t, but her tone made me fearful. I sensed I was about to learn something bad.

“He died this summer. Of an aortic embolism.”

Ronnie was 44 and in apparent good health and one day he died!

Mary  and John (not their real names) had two children. This son who had just died and a daughter in frail health who lives in Arizona for its dry climate. They have no grandchildren.

What I remember vividly about Mary and John is that [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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motivation to write

What Motivates Me to Write

This post was sent to us with the wish that it remain anonymous. We are reprinting it with that wish intact. It is going under the byline of our staff but the writer is not on our staff. That was just the most expedient way to publish this.

I come back to my writing every day because I cannot stay away. It is how I process life. Writing helps me understand what has happened and how I feel about it. My dad’s Norwegian stoicism and our family’s isolation caused by his alcoholism prevented much communication with anybody, in or out of the family. I turned to writing to “talk” to someone. I wrote letters to any relatives and pen pals who would write back, and who I felt were my friends.

As I now write my memoirs, every memory I write about teaches me something new about myself and how I’ve become the person I am. When I started my memoir, I began to forgive myself for self-defeating behaviors I could not overcome. Re-living events buried for years has brought tears, but it has helped me let go and be a less fearful, ashamed and workaholic person. Writing is the best thing I do for myself.

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Frustration from writer's block?

3 Causes of “Writer’s Block”

Many writers suffer from writer’s block, yet few understand its possible causes. Memoir writing certainly has its difficulties which can create it, and not just writer’s block! There are a number of reasons that contribute to difficulty in writing. 1. In memoir writing, “writer’s block” can be the result of dealing with uncomfortable material. Perhaps you […]

Martha Blowen

Family Celebrates Thanksgiving with Sadness

Martha Blowen, my partner in life and in work, died on August 18, 2008, from metastasized breast cancer. The following is from collated excerpts of journals we both kept at the time.  (Before she passed away, she gave me permission to share her entries.) The memoir is called My Eye Fell Into the Soup, after […]

a cancer journal

Speaking to the Children About Cancer

For more in the My Eye Fell Into the Soup series, Click Here.   Speaking to the Children About Cancer November 12, Sunday Martha: My days since Thursday have been about sleeping and talking and crying. Just four days ago, everything I thought about my life was different. How life seems changed even though it […]

a cancer journal

Wanting to run away from Cancer

For other posts in the My Eye Fell Into the Soup series, Click Here. Wanting to Run Away From Cancer November 10, 2006 Denis: So very hard. Terror. Wanting to run away—but there’s no “where” to run to. Some of the office work must continue. It seems like such an irrelevant thing to do, but […]

how to turn a journal into a memoir

My Eye Fell Into the Soup: How Cancer Journals Turned Memoir Was Launched

The following is excerpted from the memoir My Eye Fell Into the Soup. Additional excerpts will follow on Saturdays. Martha began writing a journal before I knew her, and she wrote consistently for the 31 years we were together. My own habit of writing a record of my life began in my early twenties—in 1970. […]

a cancer journal

A Cancer Diagnosis

Martha Blowen, my partner in life and in work, died on August 18, 2008, from metastasized breast cancer. The following is from collated excerpts of journals we both kept at the time.  (Before she passed away, she gave me permission to share her entries.) The memoir is called My Eye Fell Into the Soup, after […]

a cancer journal

Coping With Chemo—Again

Martha Blowen, my partner in life and in work, died on August 18, 2008, from metastasized breast cancer. The following is from collated excerpts of journals we both kept at the time.  (Before she passed away, she gave me permission to share her entries.) The memoir is called My Eye Fell Into the Soup, after […]

a cancer journal

The Family Gathers Around Martha

Martha Blowen, my partner in life and in work, died on August 18, 2008,  from metastasized breast cancer. The following is from collated excerpts of journals we both kept at the time.  (Before she passed away, she gave me permission to share her entries.) The memoir is called My Eye Fell Into the Soup, after […]