Why Write a Memoir?


Outtakes 184

Why Write a Memoir?

By Cait Collins

 

The quick answer to the question is, why not? We all have something to say about our lives or periods of our lives. That said, a memoir can be an effective communication tool. Sometimes we might want to just tell a story, but some memoirs have a distinct purpose. The reasons to write a memoir include: to inspire, to inform, and to persuade.

Everyone has experienced tragedy or challenges. How did you overcome the problem?

Did you fall into a deep depression? What made you decide to work your way back? Have you ever watched a child struggle to excel despite learning disabilities? What made the effort so memorable and what affect did it have on you? Mapping the journey from tragedy to triumph may inspire someone else to find a path to recovery. Your words may be the spark for one person to determine to overcome the problems in his life. We all need inspiration to smooth out the rough edges of our experiences. I wrote First Love; Forever Love as a means to let others know there is hope.

“What kind of computer games did you play when you were a kid?” This question came from a student in my Sunday morning Bible class. “My childhood was long before the computer age. I didn’t touch a computer until I was in my 30’s.” His eyes bulged. “No computers? What did you do for fun?”Obviously my young friend did not know it was possible to enjoy life without staring at a computer screen. Tables, a work in progress, tells of growing up a military brat in the 50’s and 60’s. We had a blast back then. Kids today don’t know what they missed, but I hope they will learn from the stories.

Former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee, uses reminences of growing up in the South to portray life in the heartland or the “fly-over zone.” His commentary offers a contrast in the culture between the .east and west coasts and Middle America. God, Guns, Grits and Gravy explains how and why we are so different. Sweetened with humor, spiced with down-home sayings, and peppered with sarcasm, Governor Huckabee makes a strong case for the simpler way of life. He has convinced me my momma and daddy and his parents must have known each other well, because my folks didn’t tolerate disrespect and disobedience any more the Governor’s did. I normally speed read a book, but I’m slowing down so that I can savor the narrative. It is a good read and very persuasive.

Memoirs should not be relegated to the lives of the rich and famous. History is not just the deeds of great men and women; it is also the stories of everyday folks who lived their lives quietly, doing their best to make a living, raise their children, and get along with their fellow man. The stories of all races, nationalities, cultures, and backgrounds weave the fabric of the human experience. All stories are necessary to complete the pattern of history. So why write a memoir?

Why not write a memoir?

Gotta Love Electronics


Outtakes 78

Gotta Love Electronics

By Cait Collins

Have you ever had one of those days when it seemed as if every piece of electronic equipment you touched hated you? The computer was slow. The fax machine chewed your master. Only half of your documents printed. The copy machine jammed. And last but definitely not least, one of your primary computer programs crashed. Okay only half of that happened today, but this war has been ongoing for the last week and a half.

I love the convenience of computers. The ability to type a document, save it, and edit later is wonderful. I remember the good old-days when I’d spend hours typing a research paper on my trusty manual typewriter. I tried to check every page for errors before ripping the sheet out of the typewriter. I always missed something, and I never mastered the art of inserting the page and realigning the paper to make corrections. I lost count of the number of times I had to retype every page from the point of the error forward because the correction forced the text onto the next page. I recall author/screenwriter Larry McMurtry bragging about writing all of his manuscripts and screenplays on a typewriter. I cannot imagine doing that. A 20-page research paper was intimidating enough.

While computers provide convenience, they do have a drawback. Programs crash. I had such an experience today at work. I had my proof file built for a letter I was preparing for a client. When I tried to save it, the program flashed an error message and my file disappeared into cyberspace. None of my quick fixes restored the program. And so I sat waiting for IT to come fix the problem. My hands were tied. I could not prepare correspondence, I could not research. I did not have very nice things to say about my computer at this point. Most of my muttering involved rather sexist remarks about the origin and nature of computers. Sorry, gentlemen, but you are to blame for the problem.

While electronics frustrate me at times, I admit I could not function without them. I still prefer grabbing a book to research a subject, but when in a bind, the internet is a life saver. I no longer rush to the library to look up missing information. Locating a book title, author, or event is a simple matter of typing key words. Working on multiple projects is easy. I have folders and files set up for each project on my systems. Paper files are no longer required. My external hard drive automatically backs up my files. Flash drives allow me to copy pages of a work in progress from my main system to my Netbook. The Netbook is light weight and easy to carry; therefore, I can spend my lunch hour working on my novel or short story. When I need multiple copies, I print them. No messy carbon paper or time wasted standing at the copy machine is necessary.

I will never be as computer savvy as my younger associates. They had the advantage of growing up with word processing, spreadsheets, and electronic media. I continue to learn more about the capabilities of my laptop and Netbook as I truly appreciate their advantages. That doesn’t mean I will refrain from referring to my misbehaving electronics in sexist terms.

Gotta Love Electronics


Outtakes 78

Gotta Love Electronics

By Cait Collins

 

Have you ever had one of those days when it seemed as if every piece of electronic equipment you touched hated you? The computer was slow. The fax machine chewed your master. Only half of your documents printed. The copy machine jammed. And last but definitely not least, one of your primary computer programs crashed. Okay only half of that happened today, but this war has been ongoing for the last week and a half.

I love the convenience of computers. The ability to type a document, save it, and edit later is wonderful. I remember the good old-days when I’d spend hours typing a research paper on my trusty manual typewriter. I tried to check every page for errors before ripping the sheet out of the typewriter. I always missed something, and I never mastered the art of inserting the page and realigning the paper to make corrections. I lost count of the number of times I had to retype every page from the point of the error forward because the correction forced the text onto the next page. I recall author/screenwriter Larry McMurtry bragging about writing all of his manuscripts and screenplays on a typewriter. I cannot imagine doing that. A 20-page research paper was intimidating enough.

While computers provide convenience, they do have a drawback. Programs crash. I had such an experience today at work. I had my proof file built for a letter I was preparing for a client. When I tried to save it, the program flashed an error message and my file disappeared into cyberspace. None of my quick fixes restored the program. And so I sat waiting for IT to come fix the problem. My hands were tied. I could not prepare correspondence, I could not research. I did not have very nice things to say about my computer at this point. Most of my muttering involved rather sexist remarks about the origin and nature of computers. Sorry, gentlemen, but you are to blame for the problem.

While electronics frustrate me at times, I admit I could not function without them. I still prefer grabbing a book to research a subject, but when in a bind, the internet is a life saver. I no longer rush to the library to look up missing information. Locating a book title, author, or event is a simple matter of typing key words. Working on multiple projects is easy. I have folders and files set up for each project on my systems. Paper files are no longer required. My external hard drive automatically backs up my files. Flash drives allow me to copy pages of a work in progress from my main system to my Netbook. The Netbook is light weight and easy to carry; therefore, I can spend my lunch hour working on my novel or short story. When I need multiple copies, I print them. No messy carbon paper or time wasted standing at the copy machine is necessary.

I will never be as computer savvy as my younger associates. They had the advantage of growing up with word processing, spreadsheets, and electronic media. I continue to learn more about the capabilities of my laptop and Netbook as I truly appreciate their advantages. That doesn’t mean I will refrain from referring to my misbehaving electronics in sexist terms.