A to Z April Challenge

During the month of April I will be doing a different spin on my memoir posts. It starts with a song. Each song will be followed by a brief essay that is evoked or inspired by that song. You might want to click on the YouTube link to hear the song as you read the piece I've written. Or you can listen to the song lyrics first and then read. Whichever way you choose, I mostly hope you'll read and leave a comment with your thoughts about my post. Thank you for visiting and please follow the blog if you are not doing so already.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

This Blogger's Intent

        What makes me qualified to establish a blog focused on the subject of memoir writing?  I have not written my own memoir so it would seem to some that I don't have the experience of writing memoir.  Those of you who have been reading my main blog for some time are aware that I often write stories about events in my life.  I have shown an interest in writing about events in my past and telling stories about me and my family.  That's a start in being a memoirist.   I do have that qualification.

         Am I a memoirist?   Well, I write and I have a life.   And I write about that life.  That's where memoir starts, but is there more?   It might be as simple as that.   Anyone who keeps a diary, a journal, or in some way chronicles any aspects of their time living is writing a memoir of a sort.  A memoir could be as basic as a daily detailed record of meals eaten or as complex as the deepest philosophical musings one might have of their daily meals.  The memoir can be merely a dry compendium of facts, figures, dates, and names recorded for the sake of historical record.  It can also be very interesting and entertaining reading.

         My primary intent with this blog is to explore this latter type of memoir.   What makes a memoir compelling reading and suitable for publication?   In entries to come on Wrote By Rote, I plan to examine the nature of content, style, and presentation of memoir writing.   We will look at topics such as writing about our own lives and the lives of others, peoples'  lives as seen in historical context, and fictionalized memoir.

          When I was searching for a name for this blog it seemed like everything was taken already.  I wanted the title to have some form of the word "write" and something related to the word "life" since memoir deals with writing about someone's life.  As I considered variations on "write", I came to "wrote" and realized that this was the ideal tense to use since it was past tense and memoir deals with that which has passed.

          Almost immediately it hit me that the word "rote" was also highly appropriate.  Aside from the fact that I am a fan of alliteration and rhyme and I prefer short catchy titles, Wrote By Rote describes what a memoir is.  Rote is habitual routine, something repetitive, and it is a process by which things are often learned.  Such is memoir--the memories that we have usually worked over and over until they have become etched into our minds.   We often remember our past by rote thinking, mulling our memories over and telling the stories to others until that day when they are set down on paper.  The memoir is wrote by rote. Grammatically awkward perhaps, but we'll call it poetic license.

         In any case, this should give you a general overview of my intent and philosophy regarding Wrote By Rote.  It's my desire that this will become a sharing blog where the published memoirists can tell us what they do in the memoir writing process and others can add their own thoughts about what memoir can be.

          Would you like to do a guest post?  Let me know and I'll set up a spot for you.  I've got plenty to say on this topic, but some of you can probably say it better.   If you've written a memoir this will be a place where you can tell us about it and do a bit of promoting.  Or maybe you just want to tell a story--we want to hear those too.   This blogger's intent is to make Wrote By Rote educational, informational, and fun.

          What is your concept about what memoir is?    Have any of your relatives or ancestors left memoirs behind?    Have you written a memoir or plan to one day?



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10 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee .. This will be so interesting .. and surprisingly (to me) appropriate .. as I'm now being encouraged by other bloggers to add a memoir book too, as well as convert the posts into book format. (All in good time!).

And it's happening up at the Nursing Centre .. relatives and residents are interested in having their history found out .. and/or recording eg their father's war-time and Imperial War Museum stories.

So in due time I'd love to do a guest post .. probably how and I started Positive Letters and now where it's leading me to ...

Interesting journey I'm on .. and this blog will be fun. Cheers and have a good weekend .. Hilary

Kelly Robinson said...

I've written short, somewhat humorous non-fiction essays, and they're my favorite thing to write --they just have so few opportunities for publishing. I imagine I could collect some into a volume, perhaps. (The piece I did for the Smithsonian site was autobiographical.)

Brianna said...

I've not written a memoir, but the idea intrigues me and I do know of one woman in our writer's group who has expressed an interest in writing her memoir. I'll be sure and send her a link to your new blog.

Arlee Bird said...

Hilary -- I think you would do a great job. Like I said in my response to you on the previous post, I'm ready for a guest post whenever you want.

Kelly-- I'm sure you'd have some interesting stories. Let me know if you want to do a guest spot here.

Brianna -- Sure! I'd appreciate if you'd spread the word.

Lee

DWei said...

I generally prefer to read about people's lives than my own because I haven't lived one that's extraordinary.

Though if I do do something spectacular I will write a memoir and sell as many copies as I can.

Kelly Robinson said...

Lee--

I might take you up on that!

:-)

Susan Kane said...

I haven't written a memoir, yet. My unpublished book is based on events or situations from my life.
Most of the people who would be bothered by a memoir are dead, so if I am going to write one, I'd better do so soon, don't you think? I mean, our generation is the next ones standing in line.

Susan Kane said...

p.s. I would do an interview.

Mitch said...

Interesting blog idea and a couple of the comments were interesting as well. Everyone has "written" a memoir, whether they know it or not. If you've ever told someone a story of something that's happened to you in the past you've just created a memoir. If you've told enough of them you've written one, even if it's not down on paper.

Lee, I wish you great success with this, but it's an interesting premise because, in the end, you'll be doing a lot more reading than writing here.

Arlee Bird said...

Mitch -- Thanks! You make the point I been making with people as well that we all tell our memoirs whether we think about it that way or not. This blog will be a place of exchanging ideas. I could almost call this blog "We're Just Sharing"--that's kind of what memoir writing is all about isn't it.

Lee