A question with no question mark: To share or not to share.
Isn’t this a central question a memoirist often contends with? It wasn’t a question I considered when I began writing my story several years ago, but I do now. Everyday.
Last week, one of my guitar students, upon learning I was also a writer, asked me, “How do you decide what to write about?” He said he wouldn’t have a clue as to where to begin or what’s important. More recently, I visited the blog site of lucewriter, where I happened on a comment by another blogger, Lindsey Gendke:
“Blogging has been so good for me in that it’s made me grapple with whether I’m really ready to share certain parts of myself…”
Lindsey’s words prompted today’s post. For me, even after grappling with what I’m ready to share, there’s another, probably more important, consideration, and that is theme.
I admit, it wasn’t until I completed the first draft of my book that I was able to clearly see the dominant themes threading their way throughout the work. Once determined, however, it was easy to frame content within the “to share or not to share” duality–I cut everything that wasn’t a primary or secondary theme. Of course, recognizing themes doesn’t automatically mean we’re ready to share details.
It seems that the more honest I am with myself, the easier it is to open my life to others. It’s tough to be open with strangers, but it’s harder to be honest with myself–and self-honesty, I believe, is the memoirist’s first responsibility.