Saturday, August 23, 2014

Memoir week

Your average adult probably doesn't see their own life interesting enough to capture in a memoir. But on occasion, I've overheard folks say, "If only I wrote down the (crazy, terrible, unexpected, hilarious) things that happened to me, I'd have a best-seller." At that moment at least, their experiences were unusual enough to merit recording and sharing.

Well, the Writers Group at the Dietrich Theater had a special guest this week, Ronald Wendling, a retired academic turned writer from the Philadelphia area. He graciously shared the first 10 pages of his March '15 release Unsuitable Treasure: An Ex-Jesuit Makes Peace with the Past.  He spoke about his experiences in taking the book from idea to its final form, a journey several decades long. The title says it all - this book tells his unusual tale of joining the Jesuits and then moving away from them and into secular life. Certainly not your everyday experience, uncommon enough to be appropriately captured in a memoir.

I've just begun reading I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. This memoir also tells a remarkable story, this time one of courage as this young girl acted on her personal beliefs and her right to an education. In the prologue, Malala says she has shared her story and continues to speak out because not to do so would mean triumph for the Taliban. So exceptional is her life that she has her memoir finished before she's out of her teens. God willing, this brave, articulate girl has many years ahead of her filled with extraordinary accomplishments suitable for another memoir or two.

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