Let the Floodgates Open. Let Closure Begin.
Ernest Hemingway once said:
‘There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.’
Most writers rely on their memories, experiences and emotions when the floodgates open and the words flow out. This is true of all writing, but writers expertly disguise themselves or change the outcome of what really happened to benefit the story—and their egos.
But when we tell the truth, as it really happened—something else happens. Writers get closure.
Closure through Memoir
With memoir, you bleed and admit it is you bleeding. You bleed in front of everyone. One of the most difficult things I’ve ever done is write about painful experiences from my past. It’s also been the best therapy possible, and afforded me closure.
In Why We Write About Ourselves, Nick Flynn writes:
I try to come to the edge of what I know and push a little further over that edge. I think that any topic or scene or action that elicits any of the lesser emotions—shame, guilt, humiliation, etc.—is likely where the good stuff is lurking. I try to go there, and I try to bring the reader along on the journey.
And sometimes, I can help someone face their own truths. Then I’ve hit two birds with one stone.
I think memoir writing is great. I think closure is great. When you put the two together, it’s catharsis at its best. If you haven’t tried, I think you should put pen to paper–even if you don’t ever plan on sharing your work.
If you’re interested in reading more about this topic, I highly recommend Why We Write About Ourselves: Twenty Memoirists on Why They Expose Themselves (and Others) in the Name of Literature edited by Meredith Maran.
Here is an example of my memoir writing that gave me closure—no more recurring nightmares of being trapped under that grain bin.
And a related post: On Truth-Telling