In this series, I usually note something a writing student has said, observed or complained about, and then offer my ideas. This time, I'm giving the floor to the student, who made this insightful comment about process when writing memoir. It followed a discussion about dispensing with the need to know exactly, early on, where one should begin with a piece of writing and/or where it's going.
I am happy and relieved that the creative process can be just that. A process that happens as it should without the stress of wondering if it's all going to fit together. Life is such that not everything starts at the beginning, goes to the middle and then ends. Take a jigsaw puzzle. It begins with the first piece but it's mate may not show up until 20 or more pieces in. Eventually it is all put together, but in pieces. Perhaps the center is completed first or maybe one of the corners. The end result is the same no matter how it is constructed, a complete puzzle.
As I see it, LIFE is always being "written" from the middle. We all know how we began this existence and we know that it will end. It is the middle, the juice, the meat of the journey that entices us. The "story" of our life can sometimes be re-worked. Not deleted, but rather redirected. It will still make up the heart of the journey and the beginning and end will take care of itself. I think this should be true in writing, because as we draw out the middle it will become evident how we got there and where we might end up.
The first three Stuff My (Writing) Students Say posts are here.