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    « Know the Audience for Your Memoir or Family History | Main | Give Your Memoir a Great Title »

    Your Search for Meaning in Memoir or Family History

    You are thinking about starting, or have already started writing a memoir. The impulse to reflect upon our life is a natural one that almost everyone experiences. The psychologist Erik Erikson in his theory of Stages of Life saw the search for meaning as the basic issue of mature adulthood. It is a powerful lens through which to view one’s life. People seek meaning and purpose in their life’s achievements. Erikson said that the search for wisdom is the basic virtue of the age.

    Memoir writers seem to agree. In a poll conducted by Charley Kempthorne, editor of Life Story Magazine, subscribers said that the number one reason for writing a memoir was “to review my own life to understand it better.” Indeed, as people proceed through the process of remembering and reflecting upon their life to create a memoir they begin to see themselves in a different way. Ann Flaxman of the Center for Journal Therapy said that the memoir writers she works with, “…begin to see their lives as jewels that have been polished time and experience and living.”

    The meaning of the memories in memoirs and family histories goes well beyond the personal. They are vehicles which preserve your wisdom, values and traditions and those of your family and make sure it is transmitted to the next generation. An heirloom book is a precious treasure.

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