There are a number of theories and philosophies about the stages of human life. These stages may number from three or four to as many as twelve to fifteen, depending on considerations of what is being measured. The criteria can be based on biological, sociological, or psychological factors. All views are relevant and totally appropriate according to the outlook of the viewer. From my point of view I would like to consider the four stages of life as seen through the eyes of the memoir writer.
I would posit that there are essentially four major general stages that affect the memoirist:
- The developmental years of infancy to preschool age childhood. (from birth to about age 5)
- School days (from about age 5 until the early twenties and in some cases later)
- Work years (Generally starting as early as age 18 or even earlier and ending usually at retirement)
- Age of reflection (Usually starting in the sixties until ones death.)
This slice of life writing is a topical memoir that tends to focus on a notable period of a person's life to date. A memoir of this nature might for example look at a young person's experience of being bullied and how they overcame it, or a battered spouse's ordeal and eventual escape from the situation, or a successful business person's rise to success. These types of memoirs are not the complete story when looked back upon, but merely chapters of the larger life story.
My intent in this post is to establish a groundwork for some future posts I will be presenting that will look at each of the four stages of memoir writing. Forgive my ruminating, as I hold no claim to expertise on this topic. The views that I am expressing here and in future posts are in a sense for the sake of personal contemplation and to seek other opinions about this topic. I look forward to hearing some of your thoughts about this.
What are your views on memoir writing? Do you agree with the stages I've proposed? Which life stage do you think has the most impact on an individual? Which stage is richest for memoir material?
I welcome guest posts on any of these topics if you have something special you'd like to discuss about one of them.