dward Said has suffered much. First there is the matter of his name. It took him 50 years, he writes in ''Out of Place,'' to get used to ''Edward, a foolishly English name yoked forcibly to the unmistakably Arabic family name Said.'' Quite why Edward Said should be harder to bear than, say, Edward Cohen, Edward Coppola, or indeed , is not immediately apparent, but such feelings are subjective and therefore hard to quarrel with. A memoir is, after all, a subjective account. But Said, who is now a professor of comparative literature and English at Columbia University, does have a way of making the personal sound important indeed. Consider, for example, his arrival in the United States to complete his education: ''The sheer gravity of my coming to the United States in 1951 amazes me even today.''
But that is getting ahead of the story. The suffering of Edward Said began with his childhood in Egypt. Born in Jerusalem, because his mother didn't trust Egyptian hospitals, Said grew up in Cairo, where his father, an American citizen, had set up a prospering business in the late 1920's. It was in Cairo that he began to feel out of place: an Arab, albeit a Christian Arab, in an English preparatory school, where he was caned by the headmaster. This is described as a ''colonial'' experience. The British were the colonial masters, to be sure. But the treatment given to Edward was no more or less than what most British private-school boys of his age suffered. Some years later, while attending an American high school in Cairo, young Edward is publicly rebuked by one Miss Clark for ''fidgeting'' on a school trip. He feels as though the other children disapprove of him: '' 'Who is this person,' I imagined them saying, 'a little Arab boy, and what is he doing in a school for American children' ''
In 1951, the Said family came to the United States again, by boat, first class, from Southampton, and Edward was packed off to a tony school in Massachusetts. This time, Edward is in ''exile,'' as he puts it -- exile from Egypt, that is. There has been some controversy of late about the question whether Said was exiled from Palestine. In the past, in interviews and articles, he has done little to discourage the view that he was a refugee. But we learn from his memoir that Jerusalem was a place for family visits, not his home. In any case, Edward's American school experiences are, in his words, ''alienating and desolate.'' The tennis coach, in particular, is a bad sort. He fails to give Edward the ''top spot.'' Nor is Edward appointed a table head, a floor officer or a valedictorian.
It is neither unusual nor wrong for political ideas to be born from subjective feelings. Theodor Herzl's Zionism was grounded in his humiliating experiences as a Jew in fin-de-si cle Vienna. Like Said, he took up the cause of people with whom he had almost nothing in common, culturally or socially. Edward Said's efforts on behalf of Palestinians are admirable. But the hero emerging from his memoir is not the Palestinian activist so much as the alienated intellectual. The modern image of the heroic intellectual is that of a marginal figure, the lonely champion of the truth, the deconstructionist of official ''narratives,'' the ''exile.'' One finishes his book with the strong impression that Said presses the suffering of the Palestinian people into the service of his own credentials as an intellectual hero. The more he dwells on his suffering and his exile status, the more his admirers admire him. On me, however, it has the opposite effect. Of all the attitudes that shape a memoir, self-pity is the least attractive.
Think about a scene you are writing about or planning to write about for your memoir. To deepen your understanding of this place in your story and its impact on the mean of events, get out your journal.
Finally, mimic your favorite authors. Browse your best-loved memoirs with an eye to Place: How did the authors portray the places in their lives What techniques did they use to give you a sense (not just description) of Place Which of those techniques might work for you Jot your thoughts down in your writing journal, and even practice a few of those techniques outside of your memoir, just for play.
Assessment:Plot/Idea: Marisa Mangani takes readers along with her on the journey of finding her purpose and standing up for her dreams in an eye-opening and refreshingly honest memoir.
Character/Execution: Mangani has a clear handle on storytelling and fills her memoir with detailed and authentic descriptions of the many individuals who influence her personal and professional life.
Many memoirs start slowly, perhaps with a description of the room in which the author played as a child, watched her parents quarrel, or spent hours and hours with a beloved friend. The author may devote several paragraphs to setting the scene and describing the circumstances that would influence her life so greatly.
Sometimes a memoir starts off introspectively, barely alluding to themes and facts that will later be crucial parts of the story, while other times it begins with the author shouting out to the readers, telling them in no uncertain terms what is important.
Your memoir can be about whatever you want it to be about, anything about yourself that you would like to share with others. If you have an urge to write but are not yet sure about what, let the following topics and ideas help you get started.
Another angle to take to formulate ideas for your memoir is to think about the way you define yourself. Imagine you were going to write a character sketch of yourself. Think not just of your physical appearance, but the aspects of your personality. When you try to define yourself, what comes to mind Your family Your friends Your job Where you are from How have these people and things influenced who you are today What, if anything, do they tell you about yourself
Your memoir need not have the length or scope of an autobiography, nor the focus of a personal essay; rather, your memoir can explore a particular aspect of your life that is meaningful to you and can involve multiple memories that center on a specific idea or theme. While there are no standard rules for memoir writing, here are some ideas that might help you tell your story:
Rogen, whose memoir Yearbook is out now, has been cast in the show alongside Lily James and Sebastian Stan, whose respective transformations into the former married couple have left people in awe. Rogen is playing Rand Gauthier, the man who stole the tape.
I have an 8000 word memoir and photos re: a cruise trip I took as onboard escort to author James Michener and hiw wife in Alaska. I need ideas on where else to submit it. I have been turned down by Creative Non-Fiction Magazine, 2 cruise lines, Alaska Magazine, Swarthmore College (where he was an undergrad), the Smithsonian, and Virgina Quarterly Journal. Your suggestions would be most welcomed.
Hi Barbara! Wow, that sounds like such an interesting memoir! I think any of the publishers on this list would be interested in a story like that. It will mostly come down to whether or not you have a literary agent, as not all on this list accept unsolicited submissions.
Hi Lawrence, it really depends on what the major themes/ideas are in your memoir. You can check out each of these publishers and see if any have published or are interested in publishing books similar to yours.
I am currently looking to publish my memoir, From The Inside Out. It is my journey with bipolar disorder forming a narrative arc from onset, through the four stages of the disorder to living my best possible life. Your article has given me some invaluable info. Thank you.
I have completed my autobiography or memoirs with many photos n editing it gives it give our unique United huge family with simple living great values of life.i have done proof reading also waiting till April 2021to return to Mumbai
Every writer who sits down with the intention to write a memoir is haunted by a single question that threatens her progress: Who cares The great events of our lives are, of course, important to us. The characters that people those events are dear. But unless we are Katharine Graham, or Keith Richards, how can we reasonably expect people to engage with our personal dramas 59ce067264