TAmim -baobob

Welcome to Memoir Pool.

I am your host, Tamim Ansary.

What will you find here?

  • Real-life stories told with verve.
  • Ruminations on the art of memoir.
  • Conversation about published (and sometimes unpublished) memoirs.

What I have in mind is …

…an online version of sitting around a campfire with a bunch of friends sharing stories–the caveat being that: everyone around the fire is a storyteller. Wouldn’t that be cool?

What Memoir Is

Memoir is the intersection between “life” and “story”.  When you write one, you’re asserting that you’ve spotted a story embedded in the random river of real-life events.  You reveal it by drawing on the same techniques novelists use: powerful language, vivid dialog, irony, suspenseful plotting, the works. In short, when you write a memoir, you’re doing what novelists and short story writers do:  (trying to) create a work of art.

What Memoir Isn’t

  • Memoir isn’t autobiography. It doesn’t necessarily tell the story of one-whole-life. It could only tell the story of one whole day. Or it could span years but tell only what happened in cars you’ve owned.
  • Memoir is not “oral history”–mere data that future scholars can use to write the history of our times. Memoir has to be a compelling read.
  • Memoir is not therapy. Writing it might be therapeutic, but that’s only because turning chaos into meaning is good for the soul.
  • Memoir is not fiction. You can’t just make stuff up. Don’t start writing unless you have a good story to tell; and if you do, you don’t have to add one to the facts.

Finally, some of you may be wondering what two cats hugging each other has to do with a site about writing memoir.  Well, as I understand it, from my many visits to Youtube, two cats hugging is always relevant.

Cats 1

Who Am I?

Good question. I’ve been asking myself that for years.   The partial answer, the part that’s relevant here: I am a writer with a growing interest in memoir as a literary form. I’ve produced three of these works myself; I’ve organized memoir-writing projects around specific themes–for example, the immigrant experience of second-generation Afghan-Americans; I’ve taught memoir-writing workshops in various venues from Puerto Vallarta to Portland, Oregon; and I teach several ongoing memoir-writing workshops .  I’m launching this blog in hopes of drawing you into the storytelling and into the larger conversation about life, the world, and the universe.



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