Tuesday, May 12, 2015

From Personal Experience

Writing about real life is hard. Especially writing about heart-tugging things.

It's almost like reliving those times again, with all the good, the bad, and the ugly. If it was an unpleasant experience the first time, it's not going to get any better the second time around. It feels a lot like digging in the dirt with a garden rake - writing it down gives it a concrete-ness, and it jabs and tears at old scars, opening the wounds all over again.

So why do it?

For yourself. It's terribly cathartic, for one thing. It's like having a cut that's never quite healed. If you open it up, and let out all the junk that's been festering for years, then it has a chance to heal again, this time properly.

For posterity. How will people know you've triumphed over adversity if they're never told the story? I would give anything if my father had written down the story of his life before he left us. I know a few anecdotal stories. Through those stories he told me is the only way I have of knowing my grandparents, his mother and father. I wish there were a hardback on my shelf I could take down and read when I wanted to feel closer to him.

For the world at large. We all love to hear stories of those who have come through dark days and survived to tell us that we can, too. Hundreds of books grace the shelves, several in my own library, that I treasure. The Diary of Anne Frank, the Hiding Place by Corrie TenBoom, The Child Called It by Dave Pelzer. They're hard to read, to imagine living through, and yet we love them because of the indomitable human spirit within them connects with the spirit within each of us.

So if you're considering writing a memoir, or a true story - whether or not you decide to publish it - take heart in knowing it is a good cause.

In the words of President Spencer W. Kimball:  Do it!

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