Saturday, 27 November 2010

Organising Your Life Story

William Boyd was writing in The Telegraph a few weeks ago about the process of adapting his novel Any Human Heart for television. He decided that the novel, written as intimate journals, was too interior to transfer directly to the screen so instead he decided to re-order it by the women that the protagonist, Logan Mountstuart, had loved. First Time, First Love, The Rebound, The Love of His Life and so on.

I was thinking that might be an interesting way of organising ones own life story, though it might be a bit less eventful than Logan Mountstuart's. I've seen people organise their story through shoes - first bootees, school shoes, tennis shoes, high heels, sensible shoes, wellies, slippers?

Memoir doesn't always have to be chronological. It can be thematic. These are the headings from Laurie Lee's Cider with Rosie:

First Light, First Names, Village School, The Kitchen, Grannies in the Wainscot, Public Death, Private Murder, Mother, Winter and Summer, Sick Boy, The Uncles, Outings and Festivals, First Bite at the Apple, Last Days.

It's fun to write a list of how you'd organise your life. Mine would be in books, starting with Hairy McClairy and A Little White Horse. What about you?


Julia Crouch said...

Mine would be people I have been in love with. That includes friends and children, as well as lovers - having been married for decades, it would make for one very long chapter, preceded by several very short ones otherwise.

Sarah Duncan said...

Love that idea. It made me think of Tracey Emin's tent - people she'd slept with - which included children and friends, not just lovers.