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Writing Memoirs Helps You Remember: I Finished a Fourth!

Writing memoirs is fun. It keeps a person occupied and safe at home. Well, writing them isn’t exactly fun–they’re a lot of work–and, while I’m safe at home, staying out of trouble, nothing is happening that I can put in my next memoir.

My time will be occupied with writing memoirs from now on, up to and including my last three months on earth, should I linger after the initial diagnosis of “You’re old. It’s time to go.”

By that time, someone will have invented a voice activated, straight to Kindle, self-publishing software. I can lounge while dictating drug induced hallucinatory memories to an ebook.  Thought activated software straight to Kindle will be helpful for writing memoirs when you can no longer sit up, much less type. Thinking is easy, as long you don’t have to think up nuclear fission, or something.

If anyone wants to quarrel with what I’ve “written” thirty years hence, it will be too late. Thought software takes care of everything and it’s already on my Facebook wall.

(Wish I could control my thoughts, but no such luck. They’re sue-able.)

Therefore, if I live another thirty years, that’s thirty more memoirs and I will most definitely be a finalist in The Person Who Has Written the Most Memoirs Ever contest.

Without these books, I’d have no clue what I did. I have very few clues now who the people in my photo albums are. We worked together, or went to school together a long time ago, and sometimes I can recall what we did, but without the visual reminder and context of those photos, I’m a virtual blank slate, born yesterday.

I would definitely remember my parents and siblings and the various pets we owned throughout my teen years and early 20’s. After a certain age, though, unless you have PTSD from a specific event, it’s all a bit of a blur.

People claiming to have eidetic memories are pretty slick. According to them, they can remember what you were wearing 25 years ago on a specific day. It may be possible, but unless you made a note of it, or took a picture of the two of you together–in which case even I can see what I was wearing–how do we know they really remember?

I could do that as a party trick–willy nilly claim to know what everyone at a party was wearing 40 years ago. Since no one wears anything but jeans and black shirts anymore, and everyone has a terrible memory because they were raised by computers that remember everything for them, this is an easy gig.

“Five dollars and the lady will tell you what you were wearing 30 years ago! She’s amazing! She’s fantastic! You won’t believe your ears! And you shouldn’t! She’s making it all up, but come on in anyway, and give her five dollars!”

Certain things–lots of them negative, or positive, like a party–I can recall as well, but they don’t fill up 365 days of 30 years each. Writing memoirs, compiled from the posts on this blog, and stories I’ve written on Medium, Facebook, and Quora, helps me recall what happened in 2013, or any year after 2008. If someone mentions 2016, or 2011, I’m lost. I can’t imagine what I’ve been doing for eight years. But lo! Anything of interest is in the books.

Turns out, I’ve been writing a lot. I recently published Please Remain Seated in Your Comfort Zone. I realized after I published it that it’s the fourth one I’ve written. I’ve written enough to fill four 200 page books. That’s almost two Gone With the Wind size books. If I include my other little books, I’m there. Take that, Margaret Mitchell!

If I sat down to write a memoir from memory, I’d be toast.  Good stuff would have escaped my memory forever, but through the magic of looking back over what I’ve written, it is mine to remember and share. After I finished writing that book, I started editing my first one, Nothing I Learned in Kindergarten has Done Me a Bit of Good. I wrote it, but I don’t remember a lot of it. I re-read Tails of the Dog Beach in Please Remain, and had forgotten that Sugar appointed herself the Welcome Wagon committee, greeting each new dog as he or she arrived at the beach.

Forgetting what you’ve written and what has happened to you makes editing more interesting–it’s like finding old pictures you haven’t seen in a long time. I’ve found photos I’d never seen before, like one of my mother in a red dress, dancing and having a great time with a young man I’d never heard about.

Go, Mom.

Writing memoirs on chezgigi.com

Please Remain Seated is entered in the Kindle Storyteller contest. Amazon made some weird rules in this contest. The purse is 20,000 pounds–it’s in the UK–or the equivalent in dollars. The prize is big, to motivate people to write books for Kindle.

Authors who enter their books in the contest are required to enroll them in KDP Select, which means their book can’t be published on any other platform for 90 days.  The prize is subject to their whims, or Jeff Bezo’s stock portfolio, with the included phrase, “We reserve the right to substitute any part of this prize with something we deem equivalent to its value.” Or something like that.

Should Mr. Bezos lose a few mil in the stock market the day the winner is chosen, an Amazon employee will come over to your house every Sunday for the next 20 years to mow your lawn and wash your windows. Enjoy, you winner!

Now that I have three memoirs–I’m not including the Pan Am book because it doesn’t fit with the others–I’d like to “bundle” them. Sell them in a group. That privilege might be reserved for tonier writers, though. I’m imagining one of those sleeves that holds three small books, printed with the tasteful phrase: The Collected Works of Gigi Wolf.

I love these modern times. I’ve added new stuff to every book just to keep things interesting.

And now, I’ve got a new blog post to include in the next memoir.


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4 thoughts on “Writing Memoirs Helps You Remember: I Finished a Fourth!

  • September 3, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    Congratulations! Keep this up and you’ll be a famous person.

    • September 3, 2019 at 11:33 pm

      You think? Someone might write about it on Quora! Who wrote the most memoirs? “The greatest number of memoirs were written by a little known writer no one has ever heard of, and therefore, could care less about her memoirs.”

  • September 5, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Speaking of sharp memories….

    I went to a doctor the other day. He asked, “Have you ever had a stress test, and if so, when?”

    I said “Yes, it was 8 years ago…wait…maybe 10 years ago. Umm, no had to be 15 years ago. Umm, well um…I’m pretty sure it was sometime this century.”

    You could hear his eyes roll.

    • September 5, 2019 at 9:26 pm

      Hahahaha! I swear, 2013 feels like five minutes ago. It’s awful. I wish I had the discipline to keep a daily journal, but at least the blog and Quora let me write in a more relaxing way. As long as I make a quick note of something, I generally can remember what the context was.

      I just got an author copy of my new book–the first one I’ve ever ordered. It looks and feels awesome, although the formatting is off. Need to hire a Fiverr guy for that.


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