The hardest part I have found so far has been changing the names, you know, to protect the innocent. Well, maybe not innocent, but to at least protect those who certainly didn’t ask to be in my story.
It’s an interesting thing, sort-of fictionalizing my memories. Where to draw the line? How do I decide what to include and what to leave out, what to tell truthfully and what to spin into fiction? It’s hard not to second guess the story, or my memory of it, all the time. I keep wondering if the person this or that section is about is going to want me to change it, to make it closer to the way it really happened.
But that’s the beauty of history; it is remembered differently, retold differently, depending on who is doing the telling. Maybe there are parts of my story that I have retold as truthfully as I could, without fictionalizing, but the others in the scene might disagree, might remember the scene differently. I am coming to realize that this story is mine to tell, and while I am trying to remain true to my memories, I am also trying to weave it into something. And that requires bending the truth, leaving parts out, embellishing others.
I had an interesting conversation with someone today about the telling of one’s own story. She pointed out that you can recount the same story in two completely different lights. I could, in one mood, tell you the happy parts of my story, glossing over any negative feelings or less-than-perfect aspects. Then again, I could tell you the exact same story in a different, darker mood, and it could turn into a tale of woe and hardship.
It is difficult to get the mood right, to balance the dark and the light so that the story you are telling is compelling but also believable. And, in the case of a memoire, based at least in some respect upon true events.
Names and moods aside, I thought I would find it difficult to hit the word count this weekend, as I’ve been on an impromptu trip to Toronto with my family, to visit my mother. But I’ve managed to keep the writing going. I actually wrote in the car during the four hour drive here. And this morning, between breakfast and visiting, I managed 1600 words in just over an hour. It is becoming a fun game to see if I can steal 500 words here, 500 words there, to add up to the requisite number each day. So far, so good.
I hope to post another part of the story in the next day or so.
Finally, it would be remiss of me not to mention how happy I’ve been to see that, although I have been posting here far less than usual, I continue to gain followers. I would like to thank you all for continuing to follow my writing, whether you have just joined recently or are patiently standing by while my posts dwindle this month. As much as I’m enjoying this exercise, I am looking forward to returning to blogging, and to writing all the other, unrelated ideas I’ve been having to shelve for the month.