No One Else Can Say It

Why write a memoir? For their last assignment in my writing course, students compose a single-event memoir. We talk about all the kinds of experiences they’ve had in their lives. We talk about travel, after-school jobs, illness, encounters with wild animals or famous people, existential questions, romance, turning point moments, transitions to adulthood, and even sporting events. We talk about grandparents and mothers and adventures in Croatia. We talk about backyard swings, concerts, and little sisters. 

Tell us a story! Tell us something that you’ve seen or felt or come to understand!

I love quoting Mary Pipher in her book, Writing to Change the World. I’ve share this quote every single semester because I love it so much. She writes in her chapter, “What You Alone Can Say,” the following:

You have something to say that no one else can say.  Your history, your unique sensibilities, your sense of place and your language bestow upon you a singular authority.  Who but you can describe the hollyhocks in your grandmother’s backyard or the creek outside of town that you fished as a child. . . ?”  

I do find it sublime to think of the 7.125 billion people on the planet and how, right now, you are the only one sitting where you’re sitting, seeing what you’re seeing as you see it, and feeling what you’re feeling. I wish I knew what you were doing right now. It’s just so interesting to consider it.

If you’re discouraged in your blogging or in your writing in general (or in your speaking, for that matter), remember that you have something to say that no one else can say. We would love to hear it.

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  1. Loved this, Heather! I recently started to blog in conjunction with my latest book that is releasing Monday. I've been reticent to join the millions of other bloggers when I've been content to read and comment. Thanks for the delightful encouragement!