October 14, 2020

Deb Moore, leader of the CALS Writing Circle and teacher of the popular series Memoir Writing for Seniors, recently shared a terrific article as part of her newsletter. (Email dmoore at cals dot org to be added.) I wanted to make notes while I was thinking about it so I wouldn’t forget to come back to this resource. For my own memoir in progress, which focuses on love relationships and sexual experiences, I wondered what my arc, through line, and beats might look like. The example went like this:

I wanted ______________(the desire line).

To get it, I ______________(action).

To get it, I then ______________(action).

But ______________(obstacle) got in my way.

So, I ______________(action).

Maybe my answers would look something like this: I wanted to connect with individuals, experience love, and better understand myself and others. To do that, I tried various partners and kinds of relationships. I explored orientation and ethical non-monogamy. But jealousy and frustration and desire for my freedom got in my way. So I had to determine what my healthy boundaries would look like and how much I was or wasn’t willing to compromise. (Having a polyamory-specific relationship counselor really helped!)

I’m not sure what the conclusion of my book will look like as I’m always experiencing new things, but I think that outlines one way the arc of the memoir could go. Nice! Thanks, Deb, for the share! And thanks to Adair Lara for the great advice.