Writing a memoir is like setting off on a long journey, destination unknown. Straining under the weight of your own baggage – most of it unconscious – you’re soon forced to sort your memories for what rings true and what does not, what to keep and what to toss. And like that ancient traveler, Odysseus, you must also slay some demons on the way.

Holding the past up to the light may also reveal new facts or long-held false assumptions. Like a crystal ball twisting in your rear-view mirror, these fresh facets may reflect a future too murky to discern, except in hindsight. Only when you’ve mustered the courage and self-compassion to take your own honest inventory, will you be able to decide which memories hold true. And which ones to share with readers or family. 

You must dive deep but remember to breathe; fly back in time but stay grounded; confront darkness but never lose hope. Connect the dots and discern the patterns, until ultimately your story writes itself – a quasi-spiritual experience for some people like me. Or a magic carpet that flies beyond the purely rational to the essence of your memories.

Yet, by the time you’ve moved from your first draft to your final, your memoir may have landed you in an unknown destination that looks nothing like your original vision. After so much sorting and filtering, what if only keepsakes and touchstones remain on the page? Not to worry. Those gems are the true talisman of your life journey.