Saturday, March 25, 2006

memoir assignment from Jo

Jo is talking about memoir and pivotal moments, and structuring a memoir, maybe a snippet of one from a particular time in our lives, around that moment. I'm having trouble coming up with a Moment, and then also feel like if I did it would take me hours to write such a thing. But I could sketch out possibilities and thoughts about it...

- I like the idea of a pivotal moment being a bit imaginary, or making it be a completely fantastic unreal event. Push that moment over the top. For me it might be something like "And then I grew an extra head" or the moment when I noticed (but no one else did) that all the trees on Earth had disappeared. Okay, not those, but something odd which could carry a lot of meaning.

- The attraction of making that moment the very beginning of a book, like putting the murder first in a murder mystery

- i wrote something like this once in a memoir called "The Thing!". It was about a road trip I took with my ex-husband before we were married and before I moved in with him. We were in a weird limbo... and set out from Santa Fe to Tuscon down the lower highway, whatever that is, and then up and around back the other more northern highway. A thousand miles away in the wrong direction we started seeing billboards for The Thing! and the pivotal moment would obviously be when we finally got to the cheesy roadside attraction and saw it. I wrote big chunks of this, and saw the structure of it very clearly, maybe because the pivotal moment or climactic moment was so obvious. So I saw how every tiny thing, every trivial moment and conversation on that trip, could come together and mean MORE because of that ending or that moment of seeing The Thing.

- it strikes me suddenly this is what I love about long-running episodic tv shows like Blake's 7 and Space Island One. The final moment of the final episode makes everything mean more, more intensely. It ups the ante. It makes me go back and re-evaluate the meaning of all the stuff that came before.

I like books where the pivotal moments are actual conversations.

Am I evading the question?

I wrote another thing about a road trip with M. when we moved to California in 91. Which ended in a truly low moment for me where I had to pee and she wouldn't stop the car for me to go to the bathroom, and the cats in the cat carrier kept escaping out of a hole they'd torn in it, and we were on some freeway in oakland in the middle of the night. I was crying and in terrible pain and I think I was having some kind of huge problem, like I had a kidney infection or PID or both, we never figured it out despite a bunch of emergency room visits. I have written that scene in the car about ten different ways to mean different things about how I saw my life and what it meant to be a bit out of control of my life and body.


Post a Comment

<< Home