Monica Meneghetti: The "you" in memoir
The self in the memoir you're writing ("you") is not the same as the self writing it (You). Your Writer Self is the person who's learned from all the experiences that your Memoir Self hasn't yet had, and might be having as the story unfolds. Maintaining awareness of this separation between the selves can help preserve emotional equilibrium, especially if the project involves revisiting upsetting events. If self-censorship is an obstacle, then this awareness can help You to write uninhibitedly. Try writing the first draft in third person. You may find, as I have, that it enables a deeper delve into intense emotion, and a more free and authentic exploration of potentially sensitive topics. It also helps to keep the characterization of "you" consistent with the time period of your memoir.
Monica Meneghetti is a trilingual, multi-genre writer and instructor with a penchant for cross-disciplinary collaboration. She approaches creative nonfiction not as a genre but as a mode of writing that can be explored in various genres. Her work has appeared in Trivia, Prairie Fire, Canadian Alpine Journal, filling Station, and on the W Network. She's taught at Fernie Writer's Conference, Camp fYrefly, and as a freelancer. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from University of British Columbia.
Photo credit: Kim Williams