Universal memoir themes

As promised a few days ago, I’d like to offer a list of universal memoir themes. Vivian Gornick, author of The Situation and the Story: The Art of the Personal Narrative, says: “Every work of literature has both a situation and a story. The situation is the context or circumstance, sometimes the plot; the story is the emotional experience that preoccupies the writer – the insight, the wisdom, the thing one has come to say.” The story is the work of literature’s theme. In my book: Leaving the Hall Light On: A Mother’s Memoir of Living with Her Son’s Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide Plot (situation) = the suicide of a gifted bipolar musician brings parents grief, guilt, and anger Theme (story) = 1) limits the mother has in controlling and protecting her son, 2) surviving the son’s suicide, and 3) the mother’s journey to claim her own creative powers I’ve listed below some other universal theme ideas for lifestory and memoir writ … [Read more...]