One of my favorite genres in literature is the memoir. My writing is typically based in fiction (except, of course, for the blogging), but I have always thought I would eventually write some sort of memoir.
This has caused problems in my life. Problems like not paying attention to what’s going on in my life, because I’m focused on what the “story” will be.
The first time I realized this was a problem, was during my first marriage.
We had attended a wedding of my then-husband’s friends in Virginia City, leaving the baby with a friend back in Reno. The details are fuzzy, but I remember we got into a huge fight as we were leaving. On an angry drive back to Reno, my husband told me, “I don’t want to be just another chapter in your book.”
That line has stuck with me over the years. Especially when he did – eventually – kind of end up being “just another chapter”. Was I living my life, or was I just planning for my book?
It was a similar situation when D asked me out. I noticed how my thoughts went to, what a great story this is! The sweet friend of a friend who waited 2 years to ask me out. Even the story of how my ex-husband and I got together could be said in such a way that it could provide entertainment.
Am I living my life looking for the story to tell? Are there things I’m missing out on because I’m focused on what will make a good blog post, or what could be referenced in my memoir?
However, I also have to think about what the storytelling has done for my memory.
I have a terrible memory of the years before college. Even the college years are fuzzy. But in the years I’ve been blogging and posting pictures on Facebook, I have found that my memory has slightly improved. There is still a lot of fuzz, but I can look at a picture or read a blog post, and it comes back to me. Sometimes I even remember details that are not mentioned in the post.
There are the benefits of being a storyteller, especially in telling my own story. But I must be vigilant to not let the search for the stories overpower the experiences of my life.