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Jottings page
 
 

The Way I Wrote My Memoir

Word For Word: A Writer's Life  Publication May 11, 2021

      Writers cherish words, and I've saved my own and the words of others sent to me in letters throughout my life.

     

   When I decided to write a memoir, I went to look for my forty or so journals. 

     

      "I gathered them together, numbered them, and arranged them on a bookshelf--from the college spiral notebooks to the more recent hardback Moleskine volumes--and then opened the fragile first page of the 1963 journal," as I explained in Word for Word: A Writer's Life.  

     

     They helped me remember and then write the memoir.   

 

     The image above is a photo of the journals along with a teenage diary with a lock and a cartoon character on the cover saying "my year... and how I shot it."

 

     I took the journals with me everywhere. They're now a bit battered, and the paper is brittle and in some places torn, but the words remain legible.

 

 

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The Best Pandemic Writing

Katherine Anne Porter

While living through the past pandemic year, I reread Katherine Anne Porter's luminous autobiographical novella, Pale Horse, Pale Rider, about a youthful Denver newspaperwoman's harrowing illness during the 1918 flu epidemic. 

 

In it, she vividly evoked the wartime era, the delirium of her fever, and the rapture of a near-death experience that Christians call the "beatific vision," from which she emerged after remembering her love for a young soldier, only to learn that he had died in the epidemic. 

 

"Everything before was just getting ready, and after that I was in some strange way altered, ready," she reflected, and she became a serious novelist.

 

The pandemic of 2020-21 has also changed many of us in various ways. I, for one, have been reminded of the privilege of living.

 

I also realized the importance of finishing the memoir, Word for Word, which I have been working on for a while. My monthly newsletter has explained how I chose its cover, and it will describe the way I wrote it and why, and make announcements about its forthcoming publication.

 

 

 

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