Memoir writing is a step along my spiritual journey

by Jerry Waxler, author of Memoir Revolution: Write Your Story, Change the World

Now that I’m 60, I am facing an age when the end of the story seems to be shimmering out there on the horizon. I’ve always been obsessed with who I am and where I’m going, and now I feel like I have a deadline.

People often talk about the urgency of living each day as if it’s their last. This perspective is especially compelling when someone we know has recently departed. I too find a desire to live each day to its fullest. But my pressure arises from a slightly different reason. I ask, “What if I’m here until I’m 90? How will I live a meaningful life for another 30 years?” That’s a daunting task. And it turns out that memoir writing has become the center piece of my plan. By delving into the inner journey of who I’ve been, I’m learning more and more lessons about where I’m going.

I recently gave a talk at a gathering at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethlehem Pennsylvania about using life stories to build a sense of purpose at any age. I didn’t give the talk during a worship service, and I’m not a preacher. This was an open meeting before the service, when people from the community come to listen to guest speakers talk about all sorts of topics. It was a perfect audience for my eclectic views on life, on memory, and on meaning. And during the three months I spent preparing the talk, I developed a neat way to explain how my life journey makes more sense than ever. It was ambitious of me to try to explain the meaning of life in 20 minutes, but I think I did a decent job. I’ll post the written version later. For now, I’m attaching the audio version. I’d be delighted to know what you think.

To see the written version of the talk I gave about how memoir writing enhances my faith in the future, see my blog entry by clicking here.

For brief descriptions and links to all the posts on Memory Writers Network, click here.

4 thoughts on “Memoir writing is a step along my spiritual journey

  1. It’s funny how even though I’m not yet of traditional retirement age, i can really relate to what you’re saying. Love the language, description, and the topic!

    I’ve lived a pretty eventful life, and am always drawn to memoir writing, but feel like I don’t know where to begin.

    Great job Jerry!

  2. Thanks for the praise Sharon. I know what you mean about seeing farther down the road than you really need to. I’ve been wondering about this whole journey ever since I was old enough to realize it had an end. If seeing life this way doesn’t kill you, it will make you strong. 🙂

  3. I have almost finished my memoir at 40. Do I wait until I am 60? I have lived through an amazing journey and I feel the need now to write it. It is flowing out of me. I have used fake names to protect everyone. But if it actually gets published, they will know who they are. There are parts that might be hurtful. Do I curb those parts? I have fear, but I know deep down, this has to be written.
    Any advice? Averil Barone

  4. Hi Averil,

    My advice would be to follow your passion, which it sounds like you are already doing. Don’t wait. As for hurting others, I tremble at this question. It is so individual. I believe there are a million ways to tell an authentic story. Follow your heart, but use your creative powers to make it as valuable to others as it is to you.


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