To open my memoir assignment, I quote John Barth: “The story of your life is not your life. It is your story.”
When I found this quote in one of Nancie Atwell’s fantastic books, it resonated way down deep in my belly. I have repeatedly found power and agency in my rewriting of the events I’ve experienced. Some shitty, maybe even tragic day? That is the day that I became a survivor. Someone handing down a life-sucks-style lesson in human screw-overs? That is the day that I learn that my moods and outlook do not depend on others and do not require external affirmation. Some everyday amazon.com box waiting on my door step? That is the day I arrive home to a very exciting present (even if I bought it myself. even if it’s nothing more than a replacement ink cartridge.)!
I talk to my students a lot about how in writing–especially in memoir–you have the ability to take control of an event, to write something as you choose to remember it, with your very own personal slant. We also have a lot of fun conversations about how there are fantastic stories to tell in everyday events.
Somehow, in the first two weeks of a semester that has already proven to be one of the most hectic and headachy (because of a whole lot of nonsense but also because of my perspective, of course), I forgot all that.
Well, no more, Eeyore.
This is, after all, my story.