In writing my memoir, I have to challenge the notion of Hampl that writing is geared towards discovering what one knows rather than writing about such knowledge. I do not agree with her on that perspective since each time I write, I express what I already know. Conversely, I read to learn more about what I know and what I would like to discern. Memoir writing is based on expressing ideas and experiences based on one’s memory of certain events that occurred at a particular time in one’s life. Therefore, reviving the experiences in a written form entails a memoir.
However, I can justify her opinion on the notion that memoirs seek a permanent home for images and feelings, which are habitats that can co-exist in harmony. Hampl has had a considerably large share of experiences in piano classes that were influenced by feelings for numerous unique episodes and moments. She stuck to the belief that the events were valuable; hence, one could remember them.
However, the challenge was in putting the experiences into writing. She had difficulties reliving own feelings although she had vivid memories of the same. Hampl views such scenarios as mysterious relationships between the images in her mind regarding her experiences and the feelings she has on the same. More particularly, the author suggests that images determine the manner in which she stores them in her mind, preparing to reveal the stories to readers in the written form. She describes the role of a memoir as a tool that stalks the relationship between image and emotion, with a view of seeking congruence between the hidden emotions of an individual and the stored images of the story in question. Hampl says, ‘When I was writing, I was following the images, letting the details fill the room of the page and use the furniture as they wished. I was their dutiful servant.’ She means that the images are the critical steering wheels of the story, and, as a writer, she was following their direction. In my memoir, I exhibited the link between the emotions I had tucked at the back of my head regarding an experience I underwent and the corresponding images of the same, which depicted a clear picture of the sea and the activities that occurred that day. In this regard, a memoir consolidates all information drawn from an image or feeling, and then presents it in written form for the reader to view.
Hampl further states that “memoir is the intersection of narration and reflection, storytelling and essay-writing” (188). The statement is a true reflection of what happens in written stories since both the image reflection of the happenings and the narration of them meet halfway to result in a credible memoir. I agree with her idea on this matter because in my memoir, I integrated the images of my experiences with the narrative of transition to manhood to create a vivid story. Moreover, a memoir can present the story and reflect on it to ascertain its relevance. For example, my piece performs the narration and reflection functions since it narrates my experience while hunting for fish and the failures I encountered along with reflecting on the ways I should have handled the situation to avoid feeling less of a man. In the memo, I say, “my sense of bravery and success stretches far beyond the ability to hunt sea creatures but rather is centered on the willingness to face challenges with an open mind and accept failure when it strikes.” This move means that the memoir tells my story and reflects on the appropriate definition of success and bravery.
As an author of a memoir, I concur with Hampl’s perspective up to the point where she acknowledges the connection between feelings and images in the vivid narration of stories. Beyond that, I challenge her ideas, especially those centered on writing as a method of discovering what one knows. She says, “it still comes as a shock to realize that I don’t write about what I know: I write to find out what I know” (Hampl 184). I am of the opinion that authors of memoirs write about what they know and what they have experienced in the past.
Hampl, Patricia. “Memory and Imagination.” Mind Readings: An Anthology for Writers, edited by Gary Colombo, Bedford/St. Martins, 2002, pp. 180-191.