Glimmer Train is running a Family Matters submissions category through the month of October. Though I have had zero luck with Glimmer Train (or true understanding of what they're actually looking for despite pouring over a dozen issues in the last three years...) I put together a short memoir this morning that I plan to polish up and submit.
I've been thinking a lot lately about memoirs. So many strange, painful and interesting things happened to me while growing up that I think constantly about writing them. In the past I got wrapped up in the emotional side of reliving the memories while writing memoirs, and while that can pack a powerful punch into a story, it can also make it seem too edgy and personal for every day people to relate to. A part of me worries too that my family will be offended by my memory of things. My dad believes my memory is warped and unkind, that my imagination allows me to color the truth with creative lies. He has convinced himself that many of the things my siblings and I remember are figments of this liar's imagination...that I have the power to change the memories of my brothers as well. Who knows, maybe I do.
I do know that all of my publishing success this last couple months has been with memoirs. It's like some kind of sign for me to get back into the creative side of nonfiction even if it isn't pretty or even along the same vein of memory for everybody else who experienced it.
The area I grew up in, and returned to raise my own child in after spending a year out in the world, is one of the poster children from the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful campaign. Rich in wildlife and long stretches of forest and farmland, it's the kind of place where kids run barefoot in the yard and learn how to swim in the Susquehanna River. I want that atmosphere to flavor my work, which is something that blows my mind when I think about how the first 18 years of of my life were a struggle to get out of this area.
Now I never want to leave.