Resurrecting the Murky Past
August 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
When Ann Churcher set out to write a memoir of her childhood in Malawi:
The first thing I discovered was how much, how very much, I’d forgotten. And how very much more I’d never known – things that I should have known – or understood. The problem was compounded by waiting to write it until both my parents were dead. There was no one to ask, ‘What kind of lavatory did we have in the bush?’ ‘Did we drink milk from African cows?’ ‘Did I never play with the local children?’ And if not, ‘Why not?’
I’ve had to rely on my scribbled notes, my disjointed ‘snapshot’ memories, old dog-eared black and white photographs and a great deal of research. Fortunately, I throw little away.
In a blog post at Women Writers Women’s Books, Ms. Churcher describes the process of painstakingly reconstructing her half-remembered life, and how she transformed her version of the truth into memoir.