An opportunity for personal growth

A great many writers are interested in memoir because they understand it to be a spiritual practice. On the surface, writing memoir may seem like a flat transcription of memories, but once you begin writing you discover it is more like call-and-response. You set out to write one funny mishap (say, the time your parents accidentally left you at the gas station during family vacation) and find yourself reflecting on abandonment. You write your reflections on abandonment, including other memories, and discover a rooted belief that all love entails leaving. When you ask yourself what this might say about the sacred, you feel an onslaught of anger that’s been welling since that first mishap. You let your anger rip the page. Upon revision your story grows textured, multilayered. 

The balance of expression and receptivity, of solitude and relationship, that emerges from writing provides an opportunity for personal growth. The core reason for writing may not be to generate an end product so much as to engage in the creative process. 


From “Writing the Sacred Journey: The Art and Practice of Spiritual Memoir” by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew Skinner House