Most writers have kept a journal or diary during some period in their lives. I started a diary when I was sixteen. After two weeks burned the document out of fear my parents might find it — too much incriminating evidence. I didn’t take up journal writing again until I hitchhiked from Indiana to Florida and then to New Orleans for Mardi Gras at age 18.
For a small town Hoosier kid, some of the characters I met on the road amazed and moved me. There was the back woods Tennessean couple who lived off shooting squirrels and rabbits. Their car was a rim racking old Chevy with the seats torn out so we sat on bare metal. They picked me up because they needed gas money. We had a good ride and conversation on the $3 I could spare. And there was the night I spent at the house of the daughter of the Town Constable of Pleasureville, KY.
Anyway, my first great adventure on my own moved me to keep a journal. As my appetite for adventure travel increased and took me to even more exotic places than Pleasureville, KY, I thought others might find some benefit in reading what I learned from the adventures. But, real meaning would not come through a mere recording of events. The serious memoir writer must interpret meaning from one’s own experiences, but meaning beyond the immediacy of the moment. I would record in my journal the facts of a travel experience and my reaction to it. To turn the journal writing into a worthy article or book there had to be an insight, lesson or wisdom which I could offer to others. Continue reading “Memoir Writing from Diary to Publishable Piece”