My writing coach suggested I structure the memoir in braided chapters – one chapter from the past, the next chapter from closer to the present, and so forth. I was glad for the scaffolding to help the words flow. That was the intent, and it worked. But there has been an additional benefit to having this braided structure. It has opened up new areas of the story as I think about parallels from one era to the other. The parallels are not necessarily that the same things happened over again to me in the present. These parallels have an emotional, spiritual, or consequential nature and it’s really cool to see them appear before my eyes as I write.

I can see that the memoir is becoming what it wants and needs to be. When the writing is like this, I feel like I only need to trust, to be present, and to let the words flow, not even necessarily from me, but through me.

Written by Tina Gasperson

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