I attended a mini two-day writing workshop that I only realized was in fact a memoir-only writing workshop after I joined (and it was too late to quietly walk out unnoticed). So, I decided to stay and see what it's like.
We did a number of exercises there about specific major events in our lives and our teacher (the author of a book called "love in a headscarf" and a blog called spirit21 ) explained that these activities will be revealing to us and will hopefully make us realize that what one might think is uninteresting about their life, is really quite the opposite.
One of the activities involved each of us to write five of our most memorable vivid events in our lives in chronological order and then write down our feelings for each one. Then she asked each of us to look at what we wrote down and tell her how it makes us feel... and honestly, I looked at it and thought... "I really need to get myself a life." I always say that half jokingly, but now, as I looked at the most memorable vivid moments of my life, I realized there was more truth to what I used to say than I'd like to believe.
The teacher herself was amazing. She was articulate, clear and enthusiastic. But, I really hated the course. I didn't just hate it; it was more like torture to me. I tried so hard not to seem uninterested or skeptical so that I don't ruin it for the others. That kind of forced me to try and play along. Thinking about my most vivid events in my life made me remember moments which I'd rather not remember. So I stayed quite most of the time. Made a few odd (lame) jokes here and there, that a very few people actually got (and I bet regretted too), just so that I get my mind off of things.
Memoirs, by their very nature, require you to be self-conceited in a way. The fact that this course is for University students or fresh graduates is just beyond me. You think any student's 20ish years in this life automatically makes them wise enough to write something that will help people in some way or is in any way worth reading? if they do, I say they should get over themselves. To me, I am 24 and I think my real life is just beginning. I'm not saying that I wasn't surprised by some of my classmates samples of writings they read out loud. On the contrary, some of them were really deep and thought-provoking. But quite honestly, non of them made me want to read a memoir written by them or about them.
I think I also hated that course primarily because, I write, in a way, to escape from the burdens of life. Its escapism that attracted me to writing in the first place. When it comes to memoir writing, it required me to write about the very thing that I would like to escape from. So it was very disturbing for me. It felt numbing somehow... just like sometimes life makes you feel. It was also strangely humbling to hear all of the people in the workshop write and/or speak about their life/memoir. It made me realize that I never really appreciated how much anguish or pain people go through everywhere. I just got this feeling that ... I am just like millions of others before me, every feeling has been felt millions of times before and so is every action and every move that I've done. I just got a feeling of discomfort at the very notion that kept creeping up on me ... That I am just a number among billions of others.
I am probably way over-thinking this but, alas, those are my random thoughts.