Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Introduction - Pentimento

Many years ago, I read An Unfinished Woman, an autobiography by Lillian Hellman and came across the word pentimento. It had a wonderful dancing rhythm as it played out its syllables between your palate, the tip of your tongue and the soft ridge behind your front teeth -pen~ti~men~to. The term is defined as an alteration in a painting, evidenced by traces of previous work, showing that the artist has changed his mind as to the composition during the process of painting. Ms. Hellman, though, suggested that once in awhile when the surface of a painting begins to crack, fade and/or chip away, there is revealed the color, pattern or subject matter that previously existed. Sometimes this hint of another painting, another time, may blend with the new to give another meaning. For me, it is that way with memoir writing. As we fill our pages with wonderful memories, there are those that tell the immediate story but richer are those that tell the story that lay beneath. This is the beauty of memoir. It provides a basis and moves on to embrace another story, and another story and another.
Memoir is not an autobiography. It is autobiographical in that it takes a small moment in time and stretches and polishes it into a precious treasure. We hide the treasure until that special time when we need to pull it out again, hold it up to the light to receive its blessing and give hope to our spirit.
This blog has been designed for memoir writing to be shared with our many companions who also want to treasure their memories. We want to feel encouraged to write, reflect and share. We want to look beneath the surface of our memoir, our own or others, and find rich tales to tell and embrace. We want the depth of our memories to reach the page and inspire, trigger and nurture wonderful writing.
"And because life is not linear, we want to approach writing memoir sideways, using the deepest kind of thinking to sort through the layers; we want reflection to discover what real connections are. A bit of brooding, pondering, contemplating, but not in a lost manner. I am asking you to make all this dynamic. Pen to paper gives muscle to your deliberations." - Natalie Goldberg, Old Friend from Far Away.

I dedicate this blog to my wonderful, loving and mother, Dorothy Campbell, who has taught me how important it is to create and treasure memories.

I also dedicate this site to two of my other mothers, Roma Freeman (left), the guardian of my spirit and Ernestine Bryan Haskins (right), the caretaker of my reality.


Anonymous said...

Great 1st page. Keep them coming!!

Jake said...

Dear Sandy,

Congratulations on getting your Blog stsrted. From your first entry I can tell that we are in store for some great writing and even greater thoughts.

I particularly like your observvation that memoir is something more than than mere autobiographical writing. It is a jewel to be treasured especially in our later years.

Have Pen Will Write