I’ve recently started taking a Memoir Writing course held locally, which I am thoroughly enjoying. Today, I read out a text I had written to the group, which could be used as an opening to my memoir. I have included it below for you, and would love to know what you think.
Creative Writing – Memoir : Opening
“So how come you moved here of all places?”
Since moving to our tiny hamlet in the middle of nowhere, I get asked this question a lot. And when I do, I am utterly unable to keep it simple. The many different ways that I could answer always leads my thoughts and I into overwhelm.
So instead of keeping it simple, I answer with a rather confusing convoluted explanation as to how we landed here, in the middle of the French countryside, just over five years ago.
“Oh, par hasard en fait. On ne connaissait pas la région et les prix étaient abordables, alors on s’est dit pourquoi pas!” (Oh, it was luck really. We didn’t know the area, the prices were within our reach so we thought why not!)
5 seconds. And yes, I timed it. I could simply answer in 5 seconds instead of the insufferable long version I tend to give, which goes on, and on…. and on. I sometimes hear myself think “Oh here we go…”. I just can’t help it, it all comes out.
I react in a similar way when people ask me where I’m from. It’s never clear to me how much people actually want to know when they ask me that question.
Do they want to know where I was born? I come from Versailles.
Even then it’s not straightforward as I was born in Versailles but actually lived in a neighbouring town…
Do they want to know where I grew up? I come from Ireland and the French Alps, mostly the Alps really.
I never know how to answer. So I start giving people my life story. As in, my whole life story. Sometimes I will throw in details of where my parents and even where my grand-parents are from for good measure. Well, where they were born and where they lived thereafter, because that’s pretty much the same story : not straightforward in the slightest.
Over the past few months since becoming unemployed, I have been working on simplifying my life – decluttering, making space, taking time to breathe. I’m embracing a minimalist and simpler lifestyle overall. Now I just need to find a way to apply this when answering the above two questions…
So, what do you think?
Does it make you want to read more?
What specific questions does it raise that you would like answered in the following chapters?
What does the tone in which it’s written tell you about the writer?
Did I get any of my expressions wrong?
Any other constructive feedback?
I’d love to hear from you so please do let me know your thoughts in the comments below.