Writing a Memoir, led by Palo Stickland at the Bearsden Writers’ Group, 27 May 2021

At our latest meeting, Palo Stickland led a workshop on writing memoir.  She gave a presentation, complete with slides, discussing how to approach writing a memoir and what makes a memoir different from, say, autobiography or the history of an event.  If you’ve ever wondered, “memoirs structure themselves on one aspect” of someone’s life, and can include themes such as “addiction, parenting, adolescence, disease, faith.”  They’re written in the first person, and readers turn to them in search of a story and storyteller they can relate to, with Malala’ Yousafzai’s book I Am Malala and Meg Henderson’s Finding Peggy: A Glasgow Childhood serving as excellent examples.

In the workshop portion of the meeting, we all had a go at writing a short passage inspired by a personal photograph.  In listening to everyone’s words, I was struck by how rich and diverse our responses to these photographs are.  Not only did our group choose a wide range of images, but we also chose different stances (questioning, humorous, poignant, to name a few) to writing about them.  Naturally, this also prompted some discussion of the (un)reliability of memory, and the mysteries often surrounding these moments caught in time.

I think we all agree that it was a wonderful session, full of insight and a scattered with heart-warming moments.  Thank you so much, Palo.

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