RTW: Better than Fiction?

It’s Road Trip Wednesday time again! The challenge from the ladies at YA Highway this week is: “NAME THIS LIFE: What would your memoir be called?” If this is your first time here, Road Trip Wednesday is a blog carnival where someone from YA Highway posts a question, and we all write blog articles responding to the question. We then post links to our articles in the comments of the YA Highway RTW article. If you don’t have a blog, or don’t want to blog an answer, you can answer in the comments.

I don’t know that I would ever write a memoir, simply because I don’t think it would be that interesting to read (nor to write). But I’m torn, because there are things that I experienced and lessons I’ve learned in life that I want to pass down to my kids and their kids. I also want them to know about my family, where they came from (especially being an immigrant to the US), and, without trying to sound too self-important, the legacy they all inherit. Truth be told, that’s one of the reasons for the anecdotes you find littered around this blog–I’m telling them with an eye to my kids.

So, if I did write a memoir, it’d probably be called something like DISSIPATED ENERGIES, and feature on the cover a guy sat at a desk working on his novel, with a variety of musical instruments along the walls, and theology books piled up around him. Because one of the chief lessons I’ve learned in life is, if you want to achieve your dream, you have to pursue it with all your heart. Which is why I am the age I am and have yet to become a professional writer, musician, or theologian. Wow, that sounds depressing, doesn’t it? I don’t feel bad about this, since I recognize God’s providential hand throughout my life… but I still think it’s an important lesson.

Of course, this is the memoir I would write at the moment. One published novel can change everything. I bet the memoir J. K. Rowling would have written in 1990 would have been very different to the one she would have written ten years later!

There’s my answer. What’s yours? You can tell me in the comments, or swing on over to YA Highway and answer there.

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27 Responses to RTW: Better than Fiction?

  1. I think the idea of writing a memoir *just* for your family is a nice idea. It could make a really nice coming of age gift or a wedding present :)

    • It could. I doubt I’d have it written in time for any of those events, though (my oldest is already 18). But it might be nice to have something on paper before I shuffle off…

  2. Well, if you are pursuing theology, writing and music, and you’re still at it, I’d call that a success. I’m sure your multiple passions inform and enrich each other.

  3. My grandpa compiled a bunch of old family stories–things that had happened to my great-great grandparents and stuff like that. It is *so cool* to read them. It makes me feel connected with my ancestors and I learn from them, too.

    • Wonderful, Susan! It would be nice to have something like that, passed down through the generations, telling you who your ancestors were, what they did, etc. Maybe one day…

  4. You are right each person’s memoir would be different at each stage of their life. Hey if you want to pass things onto your kids but not write an official memoir then maybe just write it for fun, for them then who knows it might be a prized item when you’re a published best selling author :)

  5. I love the sound of a family memoir book. If I ever decide to have a family of my own I might just do that. Sounds a little How I Met Your Mother. :) I know I would have loved to have a book of photographs, info and stories of my ancestors. I’m so interested in learning about more of their life before they came to England.

    • I think part of the fascination about my past that my kids have is the fact that I came here from England, so my childhood was very different to theirs. So, yes, perhaps it’s something I need to do… at least for them.

  6. I’m still coming round to read your posts! Haven’t forgotten you just because google went and googled it all to google in a hand basket!

    I have lots of theology books piled around, too! :)

    • Thanks, Daisy! I’m encouraged to know I still have readers out there, even if I don’t have a nice sea of smiling faces to look at. :)

  7. Writing something for your kids would be amazing. I went to college with someone who did this for his kids. There are so many stories and so many things you don’t think to ask your parents.

    • That’s very true. My wife “interviewed” her paternal grandparents a few times, asking them about their parents and grandparents and their lives growing up. I’m sure she’s glad she did this now since they have both since passed.

  8. You may need to find a more optimistic title in order to sell;) I believe, in my older age, that our interests can enrich our lives in ways pursuing dreams can’t. Besides, other interests can be crucial in the pusuit of becoming an author.

    • I have no doubt that my conflicting passions actually help one another more than I appreciate. However, especially in my younger years, I found it hard to balance them, and subsequently never pursued any one of them as passionately as I could have. I think I do a better job now.

  9. I agree with you that it’s important for progeny to know where they come from. I’ve been tracing my roots for the past couple of years because I find personal heritage fascinating. As for writing a memoir, I think the events of my life would hardly interest the majority of people. I suppose I could probably scrape up more than a handful of really silly or stupid things I’ve said, done, or experienced and compile that into some kind of comedic cautionary tale (like don’t stick a bobby pin in the outlet kind of brilliance). I think I’d far rather contribute to the literary world with fiction and not the misadventures of a somewhat ordinary 30 something. :)

    • At this point, I think my life would only be of interest to my immediate family. I have an uncle who has been tracing my mum’s side of the family back a few centuries and has found out some interesting stuff. It would be great to get some of that down in writing.

  10. Passing stories onto your children is a really interesting reason to write a memoir. Thanks for sharing your title :)

  11. I love how you have your kids in mind while writing this blog. I gave my mom a book which is called “Mom, tell me about you” with a bunch of questions on her childhood and teenage years as well as about her story with my dad. I am always fascinated to hear more about them even though I already know quite a bit. The little details, anecdotes always make me smile! 😀

    On another note, I agree with you that the perspective on a memoir probably changes according to the time one writes it….

    • Thanks, Elodie! I talk to my kids a lot–especially my older kids. And yet there have been times when my oldest has read a story on this blog and said, “I never knew that about you!” So this is a good vehicle for me to use to write memoir in an interesting way.

  12. Fortunately, none of your passions – writing, theology or music – discriminate by age. In fact, all of them are improved by the experience and wisdom that comes with it.

    Whenever I start stressing about how quickly time is passing, I remind myself that all of this time is contributing to my book. My skill level’s increasing, I’m revising and improving, I’m picking up experiences and fine-tuning how well I understand people, I’m learning things about other cultures and lifestyles that I’d never have known as a younger writer. It will all work out.

    • You’re right, of course, Emma. I’m sure there are perspectives and ideas I have now that I wouldn’t have had 20 years ago, thanks to having all these things percolating in my head for so long. It would be nice to see them all come out usefully. And hopefully they will. :)

  13. I’m just glad you’re still juggling all these balls and you’re 7 years older than me. Makes me feel so much better being in the same boat! In all honesty, Col, you managed to imbue what you do with so much passion that any lack of focus really doesn’t come through at all.

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