Time in Memoir

Originally written for Charli at Carrot Ranch

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

By Irene Waters

My almost ninety-year-old mother rings me every night. A habit that began many years ago both to ensure that she had someone to talk to every day and from a safety perspective. Too often the elderly fall and are not discovered for days. Every day she tells me minute by minute how she has filled her day. She is autobiographically using time to chronologically map her day. When her day is complete, she asks me what I have done. I pick out bits that may be of interest to her, starting with that which I consider to pack the most punch. I may also join a few events making one, such as meeting Donna five times that day and getting some different bits of the story each time. It is easy just to conflate time (join them together) and tell it as one. I am giving her…

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About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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5 Responses to Time in Memoir

  1. I read the entire article at the Carrot Ranch site and again found it totally absorbing and informative. Thank you for the detailed description of the differences between memoir and auto/biography. Do you feel that memoir falls into the category of creative non-fiction? When I was at university, there was no such study as creative non-fiction but I know many people now earning degrees in this department. Any good story, whether fiction, creative non-fiction, auto/biography, or memoir, it must focus on what’s most interesting and remove repetition as well as boring details. Understanding the hallmarks of each is key to a successful tale.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You know Sharon I have totally lost the plot when it comes to these. I obviously have already posted this one. There are at least three I haven’t but I can’t work it out. I have become very time poor over the last couple of weeks and my head is in a different place. Hopefully will get back to normal soon. Thanks for reading again.
      As to whether I think memoir falls into creative non-fiction – yes I do. Biography does not. Memoir is a true story hopefully told well about a personal story so ends up on one end (private) of the creative fiction pendulum and a narrative such as the Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks lays at the other end in the public domain. The difference between the two is that in memoir the only person that can tell the story is the person to whom it happened or someone close to her whilst a book like the one mentioned could be researched by anyone and the facts are findable if one looks. I agree with you in what makes a successful tale.

      Liked by 1 person

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