Thursday, February 17, 2011


I've been reading lots of MEmoirs this year, (which, I just recently discovered,means a "slice"  of one's life, vs. a full atuo or biography which is about one's whole life). While all  have been interesting on at least one level I've been struck by the shallowness of some of the writers. I'm not even sure what the theme has been for 1 or 2 other than as a showcase for clever writing. And honestly, I like clever writing. Some of the writer's I've read are master craftsman and words are their medium. But if you can write well technically but your subject matter is shallow or trivial, what's the point (o.k. money, professional accolades and stuff like that, but other than that, what?).

Other Memoirs are really not MEmoirs at all and have been challenging and thought provoking, challenging me to consider causes and concerns way outside my own slice of life. Not that all reading has to be thought provoking. Sometimes brain candy is just what one needs.

But it causes me to wonder about the wider implications. You know, like what is the point of this particular slice, of my particular slice. If people can write an entire book about a situation or circumstance that they've been in or lived through, with out a real true theme, what is the point of that "slice' of their life? You know, like what's your vision for this slice? What's the point? Is it just to be a clanging gong, drawing attention and money to oneself, or is it something more?

My Gram is 94 and lives with her boyfriend, Walter, who, at 90, is a younger man and who has been her companion for years. Walter has a colonoscopy bag as well as other medical issues, which Gram takes care of each and every day. They have a visiting nurse come to their home once a week but other than that it's Gram doing the cooking, cleaning, and caring for Walter, as well as her cats and dogs and providing much needed income for her neighbor Slyvia, whom she tutored in math and English as a girl, and  who now does the grocery shopping for Gram. Gram insists that her purpose in life right now is to take care of Walter so that he doesn't have to go to a nursing home and have strangers take care of his most intimate needs. Her "slice" now- like it has been so often throughout her life- is to serve the needs of others. When she's no longer needed on this earth, her reasoning goes, God will call her to the next thing.

They'll never be a MEmoir about Gram. She's been one of those quiet people, going about their daily routines, investing in what's in front of her. Living her faith out loud, though I doubt she's ever proselytized to anyone with words, which is, in truth what some of the MEmoirs are about - proselytizing secularism. And making it look good and sexy and even not antithetical to Christianity at all with words like, "belief in  God," and quotes about the Golden Rule. But still, at the end of the book, its all about religious skepticism at best and often true indifference.

I've been thinking about life slices/seasons since the house fire. Purpose, plans, hopes, dreams, visions, legacy. It's been a theme. And reading others memoirs, or MEmoirs has been soothing in a way. Some have shared laughter, struggle, heartache, rest, resolution, will, faith, purpose. We do, after all, build each others faith with the sharing of our testimonies.

What does your slice look like?

1 comment:

Deanna said...

What a beautiful testimonial of your Gram.