“Through the Side Door” Another Name for Memoir
January 21, February 4, 18, March 4, 18
Students who have taken this class before are encouraged to take it again. There will be new prompts to inspire you.
In this class, we will enter our life stories through the side door, not the front door as in “I was born… after which we slog through numerous decades of life. There is power in telling your truth and bearing witness to the stories of others. But stories from life are sometimes overwhelming large and unwieldy. Where do we start?
One can write many versions of memoir through many portals such as turning points, stories of strength, resilience, transformation, relationships, food, geography, home, and travel.
But questions arise:
Where do we find the story we have to tell?
Where do we begin?
What do we include and what do we leave out?
Can we trust our faulty memory? What if others remember it differently?
What if we have to invent things?
The good news is that we do not need to know the answers to all these questions, although clarity helps us to focus. We just need to know the next step. As author E. L. Doctorow said,
“Writing… is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
Whether for ourselves, our family or the world, whether beginners or scribes of the stuff of our lives, each of us can learn from each other and have stories to tell. Our tales of survival, adaptation, sorrow and joy can connect us and give us strength to go on. We can be a balm to our fellow citizens. Perhaps we can even save the world, one story at a time.
Gail Frank is an educator with more than 20 years of teaching experience. She is founder of the writing institute, Creative Journeys, and teaches writing workshops throughout the U.S. For many years Gail wrote a column entitled “Life in Our Towns” for the North Coast Citizen newspaper under the name of Gail Balden. A long time resident of Nehalem, she currently divides her time between Nehalem and Green Valley, Arizona where she writes stories of the human condition in our borderlands.