You Are a Memoirist By Jon Magidsohn

If you are obsessed with facts and figures, with ensuring nothing you write can be disputed; if you believe information transcends contemplation, then I wish you the greatest success in your journalism career.

But if you aim to connect with the visceral, hard-to-interpret moments that make up a life; if you acknowledge the journey; if you are searching for the truth in your story, then you are a memoirist.

How exciting to be given permission to explore your own memory, experiences, thoughts and feelings toward creating the most truthful interpretation. Because the truth is your truth. Nobody else’s. And only you are accountable to it.

Truth is not the same as fact. In memoir, this is proven by the discovery of not only what the author is sharing but also why.

You might be writing a family history or a legacy for your grandchildren. You might be sharing a traumatic experience that you’ve overco
me. You may simply be keeping a journal. You are a memoirist.
At the Peckham Festival you might choose to write about your relationship with your community and the people in it. You might have had a once-in-a-lifetime encounter that happened in Peckham. You can share it with the world or just write it for yourself. You are a memoirist.

You don’t need a degree to verify it – you are a memoirist.

You don’t need to have published anything – you are a memoirist.

You may never have written a single word – you are a memoirist.

Regardless of the topic, you can enjoy the process. Find your truth. Dig a little deeper. Be creative.

I look forward to seeing you at John the Unicorn (Sunday, 11 September, 13.00 – 15.15) as part of Peckham Festival. Sign up here.

I will also be starting a new session of my complete Introduction to Memoir Writing workshops on Tuesday, 4 October. Details at

Here’s another blog I’ve written about memoir writing: Memoir and Memory – Fact vs Truth