Recently I submitted an entry for a six-word memoir contest. The prize is admission to a memoir writing retreat. It was a great exercise in pithiness and it reminded me that I want to write a full memoir one of these days. The post I had planned for this week wasn’t setting up quite right, so I’ll share my memoir writings instead.

Here’s the six-word entry: Stood up. Walked out. Kept going.

Here’s the opening paragraph to the memoir I plan to write someday:

We begin our awareness of life with a view so intimate that it might be years, decades even before we see what may have been clear to others from the start. I began my life in a Wisconsin town. The history I was told involved moving away, at the age of six weeks, to an affluent neighborhood and large Colonial in Northern Indiana – a neighborhood and house that my mother would remember wistfully, almost mournfully, for the rest of her life.

Would anything have been different if we had stayed on that street with its in-ground swimming pools, its tidy children and its TV-perfect families? I barely remember that house – only a hazy sense of being in my crib in a room with my sister’s big-girl bed (though they weren’t called that in those days). My first firm memories are of the next place, where we moved when I was two  – one half of a duplex on the staff residential grounds of Beatty Memorial mental hospital, in Westville, Indiana. We were within spitting distance of highway 421 and the round-the-clock roar of semi traffic – trucks full of livestock, grain, car parts – all passing through on the way to somewhere better.

I am holding a six-word memoir contest of my own. See the entry above for details.

Posted by lesherjennifer


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