Write A Memoir? Yes! Yes!
by Joan Allen
March 04, 2024

As I was reading through some recently published stories in the Magazine last week, it struck me that many are the beginnings of a memoir – maybe mini-memoirs – focusing on bits and pieces of the author’s lives. All pretty fascinating stuff.

I imagine beneath the veneer of these short Dynamic Aging 4 Life essays lurks a lot more story. And the more I thought about it, I wondered if that lot more could have the makings of a full memoir.

That goes for anyone whether or not you have contributed a story.

Admittedly, the word memoir can induce anxiety, especially for the average American. It’s a 6-letter word that can conjure a scary specter of committing to penning a lengthy tome, perhaps revealing family secrets.

That’s not what I am suggesting. Not at all.

A memoir can be exactly what you want it to be. No more, no less. Perhaps it’s something you want to write specifically for your family and friends, sort of a family history. Perhaps you want to shoot for the New York Times bestseller list. How many pages such a memoir might be and what it might focus on depends only on you.

Me? Well, I’m torn between writing a memoir about my professional journalism/life or one that would be more personal, maybe starting with my childhood in Brooklyn.

One thing I am very sure of. I need to get cranking on one or both soon. The meter on life continues to run.

There’s plenty of advice available on writing/editing about how to write a memoir. There are helpful books and courses. Magazine editor Sylvia Fox has been helping folks put memoirs together.

My one bit of skimpy wisdom is to figure out a catchy title. I have “Don Quixote at the Keyboard,” in my mind for a memoir about my writing life.

What’s your idea?

By Michael J. Fitzgerald


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