Writing about my life

A couple of days ago, Chibi asked me what I love most about NZ, which triggered me into thinking about my childhood and the place where I grew up. Now, I loved my childhood, despite some small very personal tragedies. Our land, our house, the mountain – they were all magical places to me and every day was imbued with a little bit of the fey. It wasn’t created by my parents, or handed down to me in any way, but the environment lent itself to fantasy thinking and as such I had a pretty wild and exciting childhood, with plenty of mystical beliefs about the world in which I live.

Sometimes, I don’t think it’s the world that other people live in, this feeling has become stronger the older I get and the more I realize that not everyone finds magic around the place.

Anyway… I really wanted to tap into some of that for a story I’m brewing, one that popped into my head when I was asked what I most loved. In the past I have written about parts of my life, though mostly they have been to help me deal with certain not so nice events. This time I want to bring out the magical side, the positive side and I think I’m a little afraid.

Afraid that I won’t be able to do my memories justice. That I won’t be able to bring that magic to life on the page. That somehow in my failure to do that I’ll be ruining some of those precious memories.

I know that’s not the case, even if I can’t pull it off the way I would like to, my memories can and will remain intact. But the fear is there anyway.

As a writer, and a person, I feel like it’s important for me to acknowledge that fear – how else can I move on from it and grow from the experience?

It’s certainly not going to stop me from trying to write this story, whatever the outcome may be.

Do you tap into your history when you’re writing?


7 thoughts on “Writing about my life”

  1. Yes, and no. I tap into experience, but I always filter it with a screen of fiction. I never write close to the bone. As you say, there’s the fear that it won’t equal the memory. For me, there’s also the fear that it will somehow dilute or distort the memory.

    I’d love to know how it goes, this capturing magic.

    Oooh, I think I just named the next great urban fantasy series. What I pity I don’t write UF… πŸ˜‰

  2. oh good grief yes… definitely I write about what I know…

    but not without stepping back, allowing fictional elements to twist the plot into something not at all like my life.

    brave undertakings are afoot… looking forward to hearing how it develops…

    1. Well, in this case the fiction is definitely going to be there, so it’ll be about blending the two together rather than just writing about what was real for me. It will be interesting.

  3. I write YA fiction featuring teenage characters. While most of the stories that I write are NOT based on real events that happened to me, I do find, especially as I grow older, that the stories that I create are replacing my memories of high school and my youth. In a sense, the stories that I’ve invented are just as real — in some ways even MORE real — than my fading memories. For me, writing can be erasure.

    That’s the power of creative writing: it’s not just the power to create new worlds and new people, but it’s also the power to change the past and rewrite memories, to make the life you lived a more perfect thing.

    1. I don’t want to rewrite my memories, not even the bad ones – they all make me who I am, and I’m pretty happy with me πŸ™‚

  4. I do, with every article I write for my column. I may not always share the facts of my experience or the nitty gritty of my personal story but I share the lessons I learned and the process I followed to make lifestyle choices.

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