My memoir is still in the first draft stage. Actually, I am just finishing the transcription of my letters home. I am using my letters as a time-line guide and as writing prompts. With the letters I find that it is easy to add additional details and sometime to remember things that I did not include in letters to Mom and Dad. I couldn’t think of better prompts to get the old memory working. Although pictures work well, I did not take pictures that often. If you plan to write about your Peace Corps Experience; I would recommend your old letters or journals, your photos and slides plus training materials and souvenirs.
I have actually spent more time researching what to write and how to write than writing. When I started I was thinking the great American novel. Then when I read the definition of the various genres; it became very clear that what I wanted to write was a memoir. I still have a lot to learn so more writing books, more study, and only a little writing.
It quickly became clear that I needed to read more books in my genre of choice. Especially Peace Corps memoirs. Not difficult for me as my favorite literature is non-fiction and I had already read numerous Peace Corps memoirs and compilations. I am also reading memoirs by women and memoirs with food as a central theme. Why? I am, of course, writing from a woman’s perspective and my relationship with food is one of the underlying themes in my story. I will be featuring lists of books and reviews of books here as “From Donna’s Shelf”.
I have also discovered that I needed a refresher course concerning my country-of-service, the Philippines. The culture, history, language and many other minor details that seem to keep popping up. Thanks to the Internet many questions can be easily researched and answered quickly. There are other questions that are not so easily researched and those will be asked here as “Talk Story Question”.