The Tao of Memoir Writing: Part 2 of 6

by Matilda Butler on July 11, 2008

Post #2 – Women’s Memoirs, Potpourri – Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Today, we look at another element in the Tao of memoir writing. Our lives are not a series of unrelated elements. Each flows into the other. We put it this way:

Yin becomes yang as night becomes day.

Each has an element of the other within it. Yin and yang are opposites, yet interdependent. Together they represent the process of transformation.

In telling our stories, we look for elements that brought about changes in us or in others because of us. Are there the seeds of one in the other? Does tragedy lead to new hope? Does happiness eventually come from pain? Does health come from sickness?

Lives are not all yin or all yang but an ever-changing combination of the two.

Writing Tip: Take time to consider the turning points in your life. In reflecting on your life, what do you think has made you the person you are today? Influences from the geography in which you were raised? A relative or teacher who helped redirect your life? A passion that you “gift” to someone else? A trauma that redirected your energies? A death that released you to be the person you are?

Create a list of turning points in your life. Create a second list of people who have helped you through your turning points or created them. Write a paragraph on one combination of turning point events and people involved in the turning points.

What did you learn about yourself? Notice the interdependencies of events and people in your life, including those that seem like opposites.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jamuna Advani April 3, 2009 at

I love this “tao of memoir writing.” It is very informative. I look forward to more of this type of lessons.

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