“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change.”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
This past week has not been an easy one for me. I’ve had more than my fair share of trials in life but, like many of you, when they hit it’s hard to keep a positive outlook. If you’ve ever felt the same, you know where I am coming from. One of the many reasons I wrote my memoir, The Shoebox Effect, was to share my story of tragedy and grief with others who could benefit from my journey.
Why Write a Memoir?
Memoir writing is sometimes like having your own time machine. With Christmas just around the corner, it makes me think of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Can you imagine setting your time machine back to whatever moment you want to relive and of course hanging out with some pretty cool ghosts just like Scrooge? I often wonder if Scrooge’s encounters with his “ghosts” was Dickens’ way of grappling with the events that happened in his own life.
We know from reading the story that old man Scrooge eventually comes to appreciate his life after coming face-to-face with the decisions of his past, present, and future but we aren’t always given such a straight-forward glimpse at these things in our own lives. For me, writing the events that occurred in my life, some of which became very public about a year ago, allowed me to process and work through the pain. I guess you could say that it was a spiritual release of sorts.
We see this same development over the course of the story as Scrooge is confronted by each of his ghosts. His past haunts him, his present is dismal, and if he continues down the path he is on, then his future will be as equally daunting. Oblivious to the mistakes he created, Scrooge continues to view the rest of the world as a nuisance and his life as a series of days he must get through.
Even all the money in the world couldn’t make Scrooge a happy man. I can relate. I too have seen a life of great financial wealth and luxuries. But guess what? All that can be taken away in a moment’s notice and what is left in its place? Looking back at your ghosts wondering what happened and how you let them happen.
Thankfully, my story isn’t over, and neither is yours. I don’t want to give it all away, but like Scrooge, my journey has a happy ending. Yes, there are bad days, even bad weeks. There are times when we struggle to cope and times when we cannot pick ourselves up. That’s okay. Look your ghosts in the eye and accept them for what they are. Know that you cannot change them but be prepared to write your own future.
What would your memoir say?
“The Shoebox Effect is more than a memoir…it’s a movement.”