Memoir—/ˈmemˌwär/ (noun) – a narrative composed from personal experience; an account of something noteworthy; an essay on a learned subject
Memoir. The word has always conjured up images of a man with a long gray beard sitting in a worn leather armchair, flanked by bookshelves filled with antique tomes and trinkets from his many travels, while smoke lifts and lingers from his hawkbill tobacco pipe. I don’t know why. It may be because I believed the misconception that people with extraordinary experiences write memoirs. There are those authors for sure. However, I understand some of the best memoirists are those that capture the simplicity of life in unique ways.
I’ve loved the genre without even knowing it. For many years, I’ve wrestled with what type of writing I felt the most comfortable writing. As a pastor, I knew sermons, devotionals, and Bible studies fell in the category of nonfiction, but I wanted to tell stories. Short stories and novels were my first choice. However, after several attempts, something didn’t feel right.
When I studied the craft of writing more, I learned what a memoir actually means. A memoir is a “narrative composed from personal experience, an account of something noteworthy,”1 or “an essay on a learned subject.”2 After learning this definition, I realized this was the stuff I loved to write.
Why do I feel qualified to write in this vein? It’s simple. I’m not an authority on any topic, but I observe the world in my own unique way. No one can tell a story from my point of view. My personal experiences as a husband, dad, and small-town pastor provide endless fodder for memoirish writing. I think my perspective on life, which is fueled by a biblical worldview, can help offer hope for the readers.