What is it like to be you? What were the pivotal events in your life, and how did they change you? If you’ve ever yearned to write a memoir, but hesitated because you’re ‘not a writer’, or you feel your life hasn’t been exotic, or exciting enough to interest any potential readers, I hope I can change your mind. For one thing, your life may very well seem exotic to someone from a different background; for another, storytelling is a skill you can learn with practice. Recently, four people who teach memoir writing were kind enough to share tips on where to start. Who knows? Maybe they can inspire you to finally sit down in front of your notebook or keyboard and let the words flow.
One of the many things I enjoyed about researching this particular piece was having an excuse to indulge in one of my favourite pastimes — talking about food — with Shayma Saadat, who also teaches cookery workshops based on the cuisine of her ‘Silk Route’ heritage. It also made me want to check out the recipes on her website (I also love reading about food, not to mention cooking, and eating). If you’ll excuse me, I have to go and see if I have the ingredients for her Egg Curry….
Oops. Before I go, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Shayma and the other interviewees (Paul Lima, Beth Kaplan, and Mary Ann Colihan) who were so generous with their time and expertise. It’s always fun to connect with other people who love stories. Here’s what they had to say about telling, “The Story of Your Life.”
My heartfelt thanks to the interviewees who so generously shared their time, expertise, and insight:
- Mary Ann Colihan, a London, Ont. freelance writer, and creative writing instructor in Continuing Studies at Western University.
- Beth Kaplan, a writer and teacher of memoir in Toronto, Ont. She has taught continuing studies courses in memoir writing at the University of Toronto, and Ryerson University.
- Paul Lima, a Toronto freelance writer and author.
- Shayma Saadat, a Toronto freelance writer focusing on culture, food, and identity. She teaches cooking workshops, and workshops connecting food and memoir writing. Saadat is also a speaker, food stylist, and food writing instructor.