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Journey of a Hundred Years

Man staring off camera, writing a memoir at a computer

We recently completed the 28-Day Memoir Kick Start challenge. We had such a great time unearthing long-forgotten memories and writing about them each day. Students were amazed by the details and the depth of feelings that were exposed, which were just as clear and raw as the day they happened. They admitted that many of their memories begged to be explored further.

Here is one, used with permission, by one member of the class, who wishes to remain anonymous.

The black and white snapshot is a slightly grainy image of a young man in his 20s. His shiny dark hair is slightly oiled with Brill Creme  or Dapper Dan and combed back from a high forehead. Neither smiling nor unsmiling, my father’s head rests in the palm of one hand, his melancholy eyes staring past the camera; the kind of reverie easily shattered by a single word. Is he day dreaming about the woman who turned down his marriage proposal, or the one who later became his wife—my mother?

What is he thinking?

Suddenly, I’m reminded of a dream where I met my dad as a young adult, but we were the same age. He stood near a black grand piano. Excitedly, I began telling his future because I knew some of it so well. I didn’t say, ‘Hey, I’m your first born child from the future.’ Yet, I wondered, who I am to him? Who does he think I am?

In a dream like that you wonder if should you tell him everyone who will be born? How many children he will have? Or, that all his children will be healthy? Do you tell him what is to come? What pitfalls to avoid, or that he will not die alone? Do you tell them how it will turn out and spoil the mystery? Or let them discover life as it unfolds?

What if he decides not to have a family because of something I said? What if in the middle of talking to him, he decides against marrying my mother? Would the dream have ended? Would I have cease to exist mid-sentence? Would I fail to awaken?

I don’t tell him he will live another fifty years, or that he will only see half of his children marry the first time. I never tell him his marriage will fail, or why. I did tell him who his wife will be and how many kids they will have, then everything goes fuzzy after that.

The photo was discovered months after my father’s death, in a box full of pictures never before seen, covering the time since he was very small up through high school. And in each of them, are shades of my brothers. In the one picture, his eyes appear to be weighing options, wondering how he might lay claim to all the dreams he has for the future, who might be the worthy bride to share his journey, who might be the people they bring into the world? Who will their children resemble? What might their life together look like?

Will my kids will ponder my photos this way? How would I have taken it if someone had begun telling me how my life would go?”

I can’t wait to read the rest of this story!

It was exciting to be a part of our students tentative first steps toward releasing their story to the world. Inside each person in a gem that is life altering. It is my greatest joy to assist authors in realizing their voice and the dream of completing their books. What about you? Is a story burning deep within you?

If you’ve ever asked, “Where would I start?” or wondered what it might be like to participate in a memoir class,  click here to have your name added to our next Memoir Kick Start and we will notify you first before announcing the class online.

If you’re interested, leave a comment requesting more information, your data will not be published. You will receive curated word prompts from an industry insider designed to mine deep memories, pep talks, a live group Q&A. Here you can ask all the burning questions about structure or editing or any other manuscript issues keeping you up at night. You also get tips, tools, and insights that encourage the likelihood that you’ll finish your manuscript.

As a bonus, you get a free one on one session with a certified ghostwriter, who will review one of your pieces and offer constructive pointers.

Our next Memoir Kick Off Challenge will be announced in the coming months so come back or sign up by clicking the comments box to get updates sent to your email. Privacy is very important at Juli Ocean Ghostwriting, and because of this, I will never sell your information EVER. Until next time, have a great week and we’ll see you next time!

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