Why You Should Write About Your Memories

I write fiction. Occasionally I take a stab at a memoir piece for my family, but I don’t feel qualified to give advice on that topic because that isn’t my strength… that’s really more a hobby or labor of love for me. So I’m really excited to have a guest here today who can talk about memoir-writing from a more experienced vantage point. Please welcome Laura Hedgecock from Treasure Chest of Memories.

Writing MemoriesWhenever I want to convince people of the value of writing about their memories, I pull out the story of my grandmother. She wrote in secret throughout her life, and shortly before her death, presented us with an astonishing gift: a spiral notebook filled with a lifetime of memories and stories, which she called her “Treasure Chest of Memories.”

Although most of us can see why it would be worthwhile to collect our stories, we hold back, listening to that nagging voice of self-consciousness. We’re afraid our writing or our storytelling isn’t good enough.

Even those who write as a vocation or avocation tend to be more comfortable sharing with the comparable anonymity of “readers” than with family members.  The rejection or disinterest of “readers” is easier to handle.

wrongThe truth is, however, writing for loved ones isn’t like writing for the red-pen-wielding English teacher. It’s more like reading the Bible aloud in church.

Since I’m not allowed to write about my actual kids, I’ll use a hypothetical kid as an example. (Disclaimer in case my actual kids read this: I’m in no way implying that the subject of this story did anything less than an exemplary job of reading the Bible in church.)

Aaron
Hypothetical 16-Year-Old

Hypothetical Aaron, age 16, agreed to read the Bible aloud at a meeting of a hundred plus pastors and elders. Nervous and much more accustomed to rap music than leading worship, Aaron read at breakneck speed. Luckily, he was given a well-known passage. By catching four to five keywords, most were able to identify the familiar parable. The four-minute reading was finished in under a minute.

Were he reading for a discriminating audience, say a teacher or classmates, this would have been a catastrophe. As it was, he got excellent reviews. He was thanked for reading. He was told he has a nice voice for reading. A particularly kind woman stopped him and asked him if I was his (hypothetical) mother. When he articulated, “Uhh, yeah,” she gave me a look and said, “Then I know who is a proud mother!”

They weren’t lying. They did enjoy the fact that he read. His reading wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t have to be. Likewise, the people who love you will enjoy your stories, particularly those in which they have a starring role.  Plus, there are some other compelling reasons to start collecting the stories of your life.

Why you should write about your memories

Preserving history and stories

You don’t want to simply leave names and dates; make your family tree more accessible!

Connections

Grandma' memories
We’re not just connected by blood; we’re connected by Grandma’s memories

Out comes my grandmother’s story. ..

Through her “Treasure Chest,” I connect with my grandmother, again and again. I have her memories of watching my mom grow up. I have read the words of raw, overwhelming grief that she wrote on the day my grandpa died. Her writings have resulted in a very deep bond.

Spring boarding conversations

This sharing of stories can spark conversations that would perhaps otherwise never surface. Your memories will be augmented by others’ memories and perspectives.

Family Ties

 Such connections with our extended family and our shared heritages strengthen family bonds. Additionally, writing about the past can be therapeutic for the writer as well.

My Challenge

Simple. Write down those memories!

© Laura Hedgecock 2013

LauraLaura Hedgecock blogs resources and content of her upcoming book Treasure Chest of Memories at her website TreasureChestOfMemories.com.  She writes about her own memories at Memoriesinthewind.wordpress.com. She welcomes any and all visitors to either site and you can connect with her at

https://twitter.com/LauraLHedgecock

https://www.facebook.com/laura.hedgecock.writer

Staci Troilo

Writer. Editor. Wife. Mom. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Dog owner. Award-winning author and recipe creator. Conservative Catholic with an avid interest in the supernatural. Think all that doesn't go together? Then you have to get to know me better.

10 comments to “Why You Should Write About Your Memories”

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  1. Lorraine Howard - June 12, 2013 Reply

    Oh Laura I am laughing away at the dog that ate the sausages. Thank you for sharing all this – it is certainly making me want to start writing more! Looking forward to more stories and encouragement! Keep it up!
    Lorraine

    • Laura Hedgecock - June 30, 2013 Reply

      Thanks–Keep writing. I’d love to hear what you’re writing.

  2. Laura Hedgecock - April 1, 2013 Reply

    Staci, it looks great. Thank you for the nice intro. My kids are ok with me writing about them, but I suspect that believe that no one would want the read something their mom wrote. LOL!

    • Staci Troilo - April 1, 2013 Reply

      I think their mom is a great writer. Thanks for the post, Laura.

      • Laura Hedgecock - April 3, 2013 Reply

        Awww. Thanks!

  3. rhondaleeauthor - April 1, 2013 Reply

    What a wonderful host, Staci! Family and memories are very important to all of us. And it’s nice to share our stories (family history) and connect with others. One memory leads to another and before long you have a nice book.

    • Staci Troilo - April 1, 2013 Reply

      I’ve heard several people say we should create books for our families. A few people in my family have started, actually. I think anything compiled and left for future generations will be treasured. It’s probably time I think about adding to the mix.

  4. Author and Speaker Pamela Foster - April 1, 2013 Reply

    Wow, Staci! Wonderful post. I enjoyed it. Love the reading in church. I too am forbidden to write about my, now grown, children. As though they own my life during their childhoods. Love this.

    • Staci Troilo - April 1, 2013 Reply

      With Easter this past weekend, I talked to more family than I usually do in a week. It reminded me that, whether they like it or not, I need to get the stories down before they’re gone. I’m lucky, though. My kids don’t seem to mind if I write about them, provided (of course) I write with a positive slant. 😉

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