And just like the scrapbooking craze of a few years ago, Marjorie Simmins believes more and more people today are interested in putting their personal experiences on paper.
Simmins is holding a memoir writing workshop at Thinker’s Lodge in Pugwash on June 17.
The Minefields of Memoir: Truth, Art, and Not Being Disowned will feature practical, easy-to-use methods to avoid some of the minefields inherent in personal narratives, along with new and inspiring writing exercises.
Included are discussions on the what, why, when, and who of memoir, along with the how, or structure of memoir.
"If you've been keen to start writing your memoir, but felt held back, or did start your memoir, but became stalled, due to concerns about how to share personal or family-related details of your life, this workshop will give you the tools you need to produce an honest, artistic, but thoughtfully considered memoir,” she said. “People who participate will learn how to put story first, and still be comfortable and happy with the end result.”
Simmins has been writing memoirs her entire life, beginning with short journals and expanding into longer essays. She has also worked as an author and freelance journalist for newspapers and magazines.
She has written memoir books and taught writing.
Simmins also chooses special places to host her workshops. She has been to Thinker’s Lodge on several occasions as well as to historic mansions in the Halifax area. She said these settings help inspire people to write.
“Every story is important. Some people think you have to be a hockey star or a celebrity to write a memoir. I prefer regular people writing extraordinary stories,” she said. “I know everyone can. That’s what I see time and time again. Whatever people need to write, I support that. It doesn’t have to be a best-seller or even something that’s published. It’s a story they can pass on to their children that comes from the heart.”
Writing a memoir is not as hard as it sounds, she said. If people have the desire to tell a story that comes from the heart it will practically write itself.
“You need time, space and quiet,” she said. “The brain and the heart work well together when you say ‘this is what I want to look at or this is what I want to do.’’
Memoirs don’t always have to be written either, she said, adding they can be colletions of photographs or even things like recipes.
Workshop participants also receive a free writing evaluation of a chapter of their work.
For more information, or to register: firstname.lastname@example.org .