What is the fear of memoir?

It's a horned beast with a trident tail that threatens to stop the writer in the pursuit of her own truth. We all experience each life story we live in our own way. Why then is it so difficult to commit that truth to paper? Why do we struggle and procrastinate in starting our memoir? Why do we give up after ten pages of truth telling? What is it that we fear?

Some memoirists fear writing stories that in some way degrade, insult, expose, or diminish family members or friends. They are afraid what they write will be disputed, or worse, that they will be sued for writing it. Other writers fear exposing their own faults, sins and misdemeanors.

Each time we sit at our desks, pens in hand, to scribe the truth, that horned beast raises his head and swings a webbed hand that wipes the pen right out of our hands. He noodles into our minds and attempts to erase from memory the very stories that make us who we have become. The very stories that might help us to learn and grow, and become even more than who we are today.

I have listed my own fears on a piece of paper, read them over, then put them through the paper shredder in hopes of getting rid of them forever. However that sharp blade that slices the paper, doesn't kill the fears, it just multiplies them. It's as if by writing them down they are eternally emblazoned in my memory.

I have to fight them. I have to write in spite of the fear of facing my own stories, in spite of the chance that if the book ever gets published people from my past will rise, just like that horned monster, and slap the truth away.

But this is my story. This is my truth. And in spite of the fears I have to write it. For me. And for every woman who might get help, strength and support from reading it.

In the end fear of memoir is only fear of my truth. And truth is the only story I have.


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