top of page
  • Writer's pictureNora Walsh Kerr

Memoir = Meaning Making

"I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.” - Emily Dickinson

At the surface, a memoir project brings to mind retelling facts of old, a regurgitation of stories that have been told before. But what usually happens in the telling is much more powerful than answering the question of what happened.

In the telling, we make meaning.

Spending time reflecting on our loved ones' lives creates lightbulb moments a whole family can appreciate and experience. Hearing how Mom or Dad were raised provides context and understanding of their later parenting choices and actions. Life stories also reveal how certain family values and priorities came to be, why people act the way they do, and notice the patterns that emerge in families.

It's those gems that keep drawing me back to this work. When I set out to document my father's story in 2015, I thought I was just jotting down facts. Grandparents names, check. Childhood address, check. What I ended up with was far better: a deeper insight into the man we all loved and also clues into my own experience. When I heard about his struggles and triumphs, I gained context for my own.

This is the power of life storytelling. It's more than just a strict chronological retelling of a life. It's finding the meaning behind life's milestones. Uncovering pivotal moments where life could've gone one way or the other, and how a chosen path led to where we stand now. Every life decision changes the course of history! Grab a lantern and explore. Need help? Drop us a line here.


bottom of page