Post #13 – Memoir and Fiction, Writing Alchemy – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler
Writing Authentically about Others in Your Memoir, Even a Younger You
Ten months ago, I started a series of videos. The first, The #1 Secret to Memoir Writing, focused on the notion of the “me” and the “I” in memoir. When is “me” really the “I”? I have nine more videos in that series planned, but not yet done. While they’re still on my to-do list, this week I found myself reading Julie Checkoway’s edited volume about writing and noticed a chapter by Alyce Miller that brought new insight to this same question.
That led me to create this week’s Writing in Five video about A Writer’s Persona. I hope you’ll gain a new perspective on writing and the roles we need to assume in order to write believably about others in our memoirs. As you’ll find in the video, persona comes from the word meaning mask. And, if your mind immediately went to the word mascara, as mine did, then you’ll be interested to know that mascara also comes from the word for mask. It seems that blackening the face was an early form of a mask and therefore the word mascara was used for the cosmetics product.
Unrelated to the video, but fun to learn about, is the story behind mascara. Of course, mascara was used by ancient Egyptian women, but I’m talking about the 20th century version of mascara. T. L. Williams, a chemist by trade, created a product for his sister Mabel in 1913. Mabel used this product, a combination of coal dust and Vaseline, to lengthen and darken her eyelashes. I don’t know if the effect was exactly what she wanted, but it seems that she thought it enough of a success that her brother called it mascara and began to sell it through mail order. What did Williams name his company? He combined the words Mabel and Vaseline to create what has become a large, successful cosmetics company — Maybelline.
Well, back to writing. Here’s this week’s Writing in Five. If you want to share your thoughts on this topic, please let us a Comment below.
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