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Messing with Memoir

March 14, 2021

Messing with Memoir

Post 1 – March 14, 2021

The Guardian (British paper) wrote this about the current popularity of memoir writing: “Autobiographies are generally reserved for famous people, although anyone can write one and have it be a success. The requirement for a strong autobiography is a life that’s out of the ordinary in some way, whereas a memoir can be about an ordinary existence told with profound insight.” (Here is one place I’ve read something like this.)

I know that some of my early books—even though not called that in the 80s—were actually memoirs. Or that’s how they’d be classified today. On Troublesome Creek – a year I spent in voluntary service in Appalachia. Departure – about a year I lived in Barcelona Spain as a junior in college. And even my books about raising children, such as You Know You’re a Mother When … could be called memoir.

I don’t know if any of the above were told “with profound insight” but I’m glad I wrote them for myself if no one else: writing about things that happen to us help us understand ourselves better and, I hope, others to understand themselves better also. Not to mention having a clear journal or diary of things that happened. Because, folks, the stuff doesn’t stay retrievable in our gray matter after so many years and so many rich, splendid, life experiences. 

I hope if you are interested in writing a nonfiction book, a memoir, or just want to ride along for the fun, jump onboard to catch some (mostly) really short posts with few embellishments (photo wise) as I embark on publicly letting others take a peek at my own process.

As I do this, I’m taken back many many years when I was a greenhorn, to a meeting when the director of the Choice Books rack program (you’ve surely seen their books all over in stores, Walmarts, airports, tourist shops, selling millions of religious books every year) inadvertently gave me insights regarding how to go about getting a nonfiction book published. I’ll share that story later sometime, but it is a process that still works in 2021 and beyond. And that, writing buddies or wannabes, is how I was able to be published by some of the bigger name religious publishing houses like Zondervan, Bethany, and Word Publishing back in the 80s, along with several published by Herald Press.

These posts will not appear on a specific schedule but as inspiration and perspiration lead. And P.S. I started writing the memoir over a year ago now so sharing my thoughts about the process lags somewhat behind the actual writing, which is creeping ahead and am loving doing it!


If you’re already signed up to receive my blog posts, you will likely get these by email. I’m indexing them under a tags I’m calling Writing Life or Memoir Writing. If you’ve just stumbled on to this blog, I would love to have you sign up for any or all posts, which you can do right above my photo. I don’t sell emails.


And I would love to hear your experiences writing, or about your favorite memoirs or anything about the writing life! Comments welcome!

P.S. Some of my older books are still available from used book stores and vendors on Amazon and elsewhere.

  1. You have quite a head start on memoir with other “slices of our life” to your create. Best wishes as you continue this new venture, Melodie!

  2. Well, yes, that’s true. I will say I’m working hard not to use material from my blog. This will focus on my work at Mennonite Media, and not include much personal outside-of-work stuff. I guess I haven’t said that yet, but will make that clear in posts to come! Thanks for your support and good wishes.

  3. martyw37 permalink

    I will always enjoy your writings no matter what you call them and looking at the list here , I see I am a little backed up on several of these .
    Life has been a bit complicated here recently! Caro-Claire here

    • Dearest Caro-Claire: complications abound for you, and I’m so sorry I can’t keep up with it all either. I spent about 9 days out of town after my mother had a fall in mid February. Her progress is very slow–broken shoulder. It sounds like you and your hubby have about all you can handle. Prayers as I think of you.

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