(I'm not a musician.) I was taught as a child that I must not 'blow my own trumpet' as in talking about myself – especially not to say anything good about myself. I was also taught that much of what I could say about myself was nonsense and I needn't expect anyone to believe it. If I myself believed it, I must be insane. If not, I was obviously a liar. Telling my story, therefore, became a very confronting task. I am now in my late seventies, as I begin this blog, and it is only a preparation – things I write on the way to writing the memoir. Nevertheless, everything posted here is copyright and must not be reproduced without written permission from the author (usually me).

Monday, 17 December 2018

No, bugger it, I'm not going to write a memoir after all


  • I notice it's over a year since I posted anything here. That alone makes it clear that memoir doesn't call to me as poetry does.
  • Many people over the years have begged me to write my story, particularly the magical-mystical parts – but it wasn't me wanting to do it for its own sake, so much as feeling I should graciously accede to such requests. After all, if people were so kind and complimentary as to ask.... Not a good enough reason, I have come to realise. Certainly not sufficient to get it happening.
  • Most of the few bits that I have written, I think I've written fairly badly.  Not execrable, perhaps, in terms of knowing how to string words together adequately – but rarely prose that sings, that stirs, that lifts the spirits. (The few pieces which do stand up to later scrutiny can remain as self-contained accounts ... perhaps interspersed with poetry – or even converted into poems.)
  • I realise that my blogs, Shifting Fog (about my husband Andrew's final illness) and The Widowhood Chronicles (which I wrote in the first few years after his death) won't really do what so many said at the time they would: help others who are going through similar trials. No, every such journey is unique and must be made alone. If one needs a hand to hold while doing so, better to reach for a therapist's. Which is what I myself did, as it happens. The writing was a help too, for my own release and processing. If it has anything to contribute to others, great – but I don't think it is essential. There are good books and even courses out there to advise you how to deal with grief, or with spousal illness and the role of carer (care-giver, they say in America). My blogs are my personal experiences. I'm happy to leave them online for anyone who's interested, but I don't think the world needs them to be books.
  • As for the magical-mystical stuff, I don't know that I can teach it via memoir – if at all. Recounting my experiences wouldn't be much help. Most of them just happened to me unsought. You could say I was born that way. Or that I have been largely taught by Spirit. How did that come about? I don't know – maybe it has to do with past lives, or some contract I made pre-birth. I rather incline to those ideas, but even if true I don't see how they would be helpful to anyone else. All I can say for sure is that this and this happened, not how or why.
  • In any case, although my friends know me well enough to accept what I say no matter how preposterous, I think most other people would have trouble with what I could say. I would be regarded as either a liar or delusional, or both. People can think what they like – but a book that would be dismissed that way is not much use in helping others find their gifts.
  • Of course, some things I have learned in an ordinary, human way – training to be a Reiki Master, for instance. But there's no point writing a new book about that. Plenty have already been written. In any case, trying to learn Reiki from a book is inadequate. If you want to learn that, or any other kind of spiritual or energy healing, the sensible thing is to go find a teacher. Maybe even me, if you live nearby (I don't teach Reiki by correspondence) – but it doesn't have to be me; I'm by no means the only Reiki teacher around. The world is full of them! Similar provisos apply to any other skill I've been taught by human beings.
  • It is said that we all have one particular story we can't bear to write – which, if we do write it, will free us to write everything else, but until then will choke us up. I don't know if that's really true; but there is a personal story I have been unwilling to tell. On reflection, I've decided I am not obliged to write it. Some few others know and remember; there is no pressing need for anyone else to know. I lived it, and that is enough for me. It's not suppressed; I remember every detail. I just don't choose to share it – except in fragments, in poetry, sometimes. (I recently said words to this effect in a new writers' support group: I know what my untold story is, and I've decided not to tell it.  'Oh, what's that?' asked one member, brightly. I muttered something which deflected her without being rude, but inwardly was astounded. Did she not get the depth of that decision? Did she not acknowledge my right of choice? I'm 79; does she think I don't know my own mind or have not examined my reasons? To be fair, I said it with such lack of drama that she could be excused for not hearing the unsaid. So let me make it clear here. Dear readers, I have made my choice. If it's a factor in my not writing a memoir which I don't particularly wish to write in any case – so be it. No further correspondence will be entered into.)

So – everything unique to me I either can't or won't tell. Everything else, there's no need for me to tell; other writers and teachers will have it covered.

Good, that's settled. Now I'm off to play with poetry!


  1. Perceptively and honestly (and very well) written.

  2. From ankh_hpl (on another platform)
    Good for you. This sounds like a well thought out choice, & I applaud your decision to have a private life. Best wishes for your poetry!


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