The Ark of the Memoir

The story is a little boat in which the writer ferries the reader across the waters to a destination. Writers talk about the arc of the story, that flight trajectory that carries the reader up and back to earth. A literary friend of mine reminded me of the ending of the Lord of the Rings in which the hobbits return to a forever-changed place that is and is not home.

As I begin to end this memoir of healing from abuse, I wonder what is that home to which I return the reader? What has changed and what remains? Is it the voyage that matters more, or the return?

As the memoir opened, I was in deep confusion and doubt, wondering whether my recovered memories were true. I felt I could not trust anything about my past; I didn’t know who my family really was.

The voyage across the waters, however, was much more than an inquiry into memory and fact—it was an immersion in painful feelings, a learning to trust, lessons in intuition, and an invitation to creativity.

I see—the beginning was only the beginning. Many more themes arose from the deeps during the trip. The ending needs to land with much more than an answer to the initial questions.

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Anonymous said...

do you find yourself experiencing inertia with your writing, or is it free flowing?

Jane Rowan said...

Inertia, sometimes--resistance, often. I have to take a huge amount of space/time to allow the feelings and get the writing done!