The power of a memoir

I am taking a writing class called From Memory to Memoir with Paula Stallings Yost and I just finished the first assignment. In this assignment I wrote a story of my family tree that included my birth-mother, Mary.

Those who have been with me for a while on this blogging journey may remember the “This Little Girl” series that I was working on last year, and my struggle with trying to write about my birth-mother. Predictably, this new piece brought up old hurts and unforgiveness toward this woman once again.

I struggled for days to find a way to present Mary’s story, all the while dealing with unresolved feelings about her. In the end I found a way to turn the story into something uplifting and even positive.

I realized, as I worked through this conflict, that the power of a memoir is not only in creating something for future generations to read. The power of a memoir is also found in providing a means to healing old wounds and empowering oneself to forgive and understand choices made by those who have gone before.

There is much more that I have to come to grips with in my birth-mother’s story, but I have made great progress this past week.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. Isn’t that a wonderful part of writing our stories? I have spent many a time writing out a story with tears pouring down my face–usually very healing tears!

  2. Congrads on your progress this week….i’ve been there and i know it’s tough…..keep writing…writing is a healing thing!

  3. I feel when writing memoir you must go through many drafts, just as you would many emotions, until you feel it feels right, if that makes any sense.

  4. Writing is so therapeutic! I pray you will be able to find forgiveness, healing and joy through writing your story about Mary. I look forward to reading and sharing your journey.

  5. Isn’t it wonderful that through writing, you moved through your pain to find something uplifting and positive. Writing can be magical like that, and so very motivating.

  6. It might not be all down on paper (or computer file) yet, but great progress! Pics on your sidebar are so so good.

    You’ve got blog bling to pick up at my place today. 🙂

  7. Linda, you are so right about what writing our memoirs can do for us. I once worked with a group of women who had suffered terrible abuse, and with each class, I could see the light dawning on their faces as they became able to look back with some objectivity and then look forward with newfound self confidence. I learned so much from that experience, just as I always learn from all my students. As your teacher of the moment, I want to commend you for coming up with a story that works on so many levels.
    Bless you, Paula

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