How to write the end of a memoir, when you’re still alive

Here’s the problem: I need to find an ending to this memoir of healing from sexual abuse. But there is no ending. There is no place where the door closes and life just goes on. Life does just go on, but that door is now always open, the door to memories that cloud and clot my days…but it’s more than that.

I’ve spent ten years now in the zone of ugly memories and somehow in the last year, my work has released the other ones—the love that was there, too, during my childhood. Driving to my writing workshop today, hearing classical music on the radio, I remembered how the only record player my family owned was in my room, so I could put on the huge heavy 78 rpm disks and play the Dvorak New World Symphony over and over until I knew every note. That was love. So was the careful sewing of my school clothes.

So the door is always open now, and the memories come and go, the terrifying ones and the loving ones, passing in and out of the doorway to the past.

And at last, the ending is the beginning. I’ve known from the first that my book ends at the point when I begin writing it. There is something necessary in this, not just a gimmick. There was a moment on the Merritt Parkway driving to New York to visit my son where I was given the idea to write a memoir of my time of revelation and recovery. That’s the ending and the beginning.

But ending there in 2001 means, I think, that I need to flash forward somewhat to show how life unfolds past then. I don't know how to do this. I won’t know until I know. It only scares me if I try to figure it out. If I let it ride, I know it will be OK, that new ways will present themselves just as they have before at each impossible juncture.

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1 comment:

RVE said...

It seems to me that you've just written part of the ending.