#SOL20 Day 31 “Take-Aways”

SOL20This March I have been participating in the Old Friend from Far Awaymonth-long Slice of Life Challenge. Each day I  posted a ‘slice’ from my life. This year I used Natalie Goldberg’s book Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir to provide my sparks for memoir writing. Each post was a quick write using one of Natalie’s exercises.



What has your slicing taught you about your writing process this month? What are the take-aways you will draw from this challenge and this community  going forward?

Thank you to everyone who participated this month. You’ve all made me a better writer! (and I believe a better person)

23 thoughts on “#SOL20 Day 31 “Take-Aways”

  1. I really like the connection between dreams and memories – so true.
    Thank you for sharing your takeaways

    1. How different are they( dreams and memories)…really? Whether we are awake or asleep, they are not our current reality. They are what our mind pulls out of our synapses, completely tangled up with our hopes and fears, always filtered through the lenses we wear at this moment in time. It was a fascinating month of exploration for sure.

  2. Your writing this month encouraged me to pick the challenge up in the middle of the month. I do like writing on a clean page, but I have so many scratch outs that I don’t like to share them. I admire how neatly you write without a single extra mark. Memoir can be deeply emotional to write. Thanks for sharing yours with us. Keep writing.

    1. I’m glad you joined in Margaret-your words are always so inspiring. These raw drafts are filled with misspellings, lack some punctuation, and are peppered with fragments, but I knew I could share them with this community. Thank you for being a huge part of it!

  3. “Memories are a bit like dreams” . . . so true. Sometimes I easily filled in gaps; sometimes I had to leave out some details! Such a great source of writing for you! ❤

  4. I have enjoyed reading several of your posts this month. I am curious to check out the book you used, as I am just beginning my journey as a writer, but I want to record a lot of memories from the past. My post today will also reflect what I’ve learned this month. Thank you for sharing your life and your writing!

  5. Your final paragraph really speaks to me. I find the question of narrator/character in memoir completely fascinating & very complex. I am, of course, the star of my own story – how then do I talk about others. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your prompts this month. It has been truly inspiring.

  6. Thanks for sharing your reflections. I found your thoughts about writing by hand versus keyboarding interesting. I’ll have to do some experimenting and reflection of my own about that to see how the process varies from handwriting to keyboarding, but your thoughts about writing by hand make sense. I often find that I start writing on paper and then after a few sentences/paragraph I move to digital. I don’t know why but I feel like I need to look at a piece of paper to get my ideas going. I’m glad I had the chance to read your posts this month! Thanks for sharing your writing process and so many of your memories!

  7. Paula, I purchased Natalie Goldberg’s book when you recommended it. I am going to use it to keep my blog active all yearlong – trying for a goal of four posts each week. I love that you explored the power of writing instead of keyboarding. I definitely do better when a pen rides in my hand. My thoughts flow more freely. I loved your thinking about memories – shifting like sand beneath your feet as you tried to record them. And the complexity of being both a character and a narrator when we write memoir. I think next March I might try some blog posts by writing them in my notebook and transferring to my blog. Are all your pages jpegs? I know how much I learned from visiting your blog – I think almost every day, even if I did not always post a comment. Thanks, Paula. Maybe this year we will catch up in the state of Maine. We are arriving in Camden on August 6th. Much love to you!

  8. I’ve been fascinated by your process this month. I still need to order that book. I think it will help me write about some of my hard memories. I also like Beth Kephart’s memoir writing book “Handling the Truth” and think you would, too. I haven’t written a reflection about this month if slicing. Maybe I will write that in my notebook later today. I will see you in #100daysofnotebooking and look forward to reading more of your memories.

    1. Oooh, I’ll have to check out Kephart’s book. So glad you are also in the #100daysofnotebooking group. I love reading your writing and your feedback has lifted me so much!!

  9. Like other commenters, I am also struck by the comparison of memories to dreams, so many “entrances and exits” and existing on a continuum. Thank you for sharing your process and craft with us. Your questions always got me thinking.

    1. Thank you for all of your inspiring and thoughtful comments and for your creative, humorous, and delightful slices this month! I’m so glad we connected these last 31 days!

  10. I ordered that book – looks great. Thank you Paula, you are a mentor, a friend and an amazing person. I love connecting with you virtually and look forward to our next in-person connection. See you on Tuesday and maybe another virtual zoom meeting with Melanie and I

    1. Clare-your friendship and inspiration has made such a positive impact on my writing and personal life. I hope to “see” you soon and look forward to your thoughts on Natalie’s book! Be well!!

  11. I bought the book too- thank you so much. I feel like its been such a privilege, reading your memoirs and learning from Natalie. I cannot wait to get my special notebook and write every day, by hand, following Natalie’s guide from start to finish. Wha t a gift- thank you!.

  12. What a thoughtful reflection on your month of writing and on your process. You have inspired me! I downloaded the book, and I’ll be writing my own memoir posts for a different blogging challenge that starts tomorrow. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll handwrite like you or type it. I have neat handwriting when I try, but if I’m writing fast, it’s messy and illegible at times (not like your neat handwriting!). Thank you for sharing your memories with us this month.

  13. I think it takes incredible bravery to dig into memory. Your reflection is stunning and it makes me want to do the work. The idea of the pen to page, rather than pixels on the screen also feels important. The way you have shared yourself and your writing is inspirational.

  14. Thank you for all your prompts this past month, I have read quite a few of them. I have to say (not sure if anyone else has) that your handwriting is so neat and readable, that I think that makes a huge difference to being able to read it!! I have enjoyed all your reflections and food for thought. I have started bits and pieces of my memoirs, I think mainly for my own children to read, but I maybe running out of time, so perhaps this is the encouragement to get on with it!

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