Creative Nonfiction, Also Known as Misremembered Memoirs

So I started this class with the hopes to improve my writing overall.  I know I have a strong, brutally honest tone in my writing.  I’ve been writing since I can remember and my mother swears I wrote my first book when I was just 5.  It was a small story about a puppy and chicken who became friends called “Puppy and Chicken” written and illustrated on construction paper with punched holes and yarn to bind them.    I vaguely remember doing this but as a whole, this memory is clouded by my mother’s retelling it so many times and hearing her version of the events.  For all I know, she made it up.

So now it’s a full 25 years later and I’m taking this class.  We are expected next week to bring in a 10 page “Chapter One” to our memoir.   I honestly don’t know where to start.  I’m not a huge fan of the genre as when people write about themselves they tend to embellish, exaggerate and otherwise lie.  Should I start at the beginning?  Isn’t that where all good origin stories begin.  Which I assume is what a memoir should be, an origin story.  Maybe I should skip the parts I’m fuzzy on and start where my memory becomes more reliable.  Or maybe I should skip to the age 15 and start writing about the day I was reborn as myself.  The day I read the entire Bible and walked away with  too many questions for any one god, let alone one priest to answer.

Now that I think of it, I will start there.  Why write about my life before atheism?  I could drop a few mentions but I wasn’t really living back then.  In fact, almost every attempt I made TO live was squashed, discouraged and in many cases, punished.  That’s not life.  That’s not worth reading and I’m most certainly not going to waste my time writing about something no one wants to read about.

So it’s decided.  This class is a workshop format which means I will be admitting a secret part of myself up for criticism and judgement.  Wish me luck!


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