Write Part of My Memoir in November, Day 22: Murder, She Wrote

Write Part of My MemoirWelcome to day 22 of my self-inflicted memoir writing challenge, wherein I return to struggling with words. 

Yesterday I took a break from blogging about my memoir to write about something that was pressing on me, demanding to be expressed: The continued presence of anti-Semitism in Europe and the U.S., ignored in the comparisons of the plight of Jewish refugees in World War II with that of the Syrian refugees today. It tapped into my Holocaust survivor past, upsetting stories of my parents’ escape from Vienna. Unlike most of my posts,”First They Came for the Jews. They’re Still Coming” practically wrote itself. My strong emotion created its own rhythm and logic.

I’ve always given good rant. My natural form of expression might be the personal essay, especially the polemic.  But how long can the anger and pain that give rise to white hot writing be sustained? I think I’d give myself a heart attack or stroke before too long.

Luckily for my health, my memoir is far less emotionally demanding. In fact, it often seems downright apathetic, unresponsive to my prods to get it moving. I have to slap it around to get some circulation going, wheedle it with promises of coffee breaks and maybe even donuts.

It’s a genre thing. Sometimes moments from my past bring back emotional turmoil, but usually I’m trying to tell amusing stories — which are notoriously recalcitrant. In addition to funny situations, humor demands a set of rhetorical devices separate from those of drama, including a good sense of pacing and, in my case, an awareness of when dry wit crosses over into dud wit.

In the struggle to get the words just right, I frequently end up deleting half of what I wrote. My metaphorical murders, then, are not crimes of passion, but coldly premeditated, as per the writer’s dictate, “Kill your darlings.”

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About the Author

Edie Jarolim is a writer and editor living in Tucson, Arizona. Sign up on this blog to get updates about her humorous tell-all/memoir, GETTING NAKED FOR MONEY: An Accidental Travel Writer Reveals All.

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