Tag Archives: story

  • 0

Why Memoir?

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On rare occasions I”m asked ‘Why memoir?’ And this is usually followed by ‘What’s so special about you?’

This happened recently when a woman introduced me to her husband. ‘What genre are your books?’ he asked.

‘I write memoir.’

‘Oh, like your autobiography—’ Well, no. ‘—are you well known are you?’ He scoffed.

Memoir is not based on self-importance.

This wasn’t the first time I’d heard this and possibly won’t be the last. And while his wife chastised him for being rude, I pondered from which angle to address this.

Did I match his arrogance and share a snippet of the worst parts of my life story? Or did I take the time to educate him in the hope that he might listen? Fortunately, or not, I didn’t have the opportunity to respond either way, as the doorbell rang.

It did prompt me, though, to investigate this further and answer this question.

What is memoir and how does it differ to an autobiography?

A memoir begins at a significant point in a person’s life. From there, the story flits into the past allowing one event to naturally lead to another like building blocks until a pivotal moment is reached. A memoir has one or more major themes woven through the story and is based on life experiences set over a period of time. Similar to a novel the author has a distinctive voice and the story can be manipulated to improve it by moving events around, merging characters or changing a scene or event to create more of an emotional impact/or climax.

An autobiography is written in chronological order and includes the person’s whole life.

Why write a memoir?

A memoir helps us to make sense of our world. Story connects us with others who may have felt the same feelings, or experienced similar situations. It can be a comfort for the reader, to discover they’re not alone.

Life is story and we create it daily in each and every moment. When we connect our current circumstance with the stories we’ve been selling to self, we understand we’re in a position to change our story.

When we share the action we have taken, the reader is invited to formulate an opinion which tests their values and beliefs.

In many ways, I see memoir as a mystery—my life’s mystery, where I gather the fragments of conversations, and pieces of events and landscapes, to complete my individual jigsaw puzzles. In each, I discover meaning and truth, which in-turn dispels fear. Eventually, at the end of this incarnation I would like to think one complete picture will remain.

Memoir may not be seen as imaginative or literary work of genius, yet it is about life and how one person has lived. Everyone is here to live. Not everyone will want to share their story, yet this is not to say it’s an egotistical pastime. It is an in-depth soul searching exercise that heals the writer, from the inside (psychologically dissolving hurt, anger, betrayal and guilt), and the outside (where physically, mentally and emotionally they are able to live a more balanced and harmonious existence). When we write, we give ourselves the opportunity to learn and grow.

I believe everyone lives an extraordinary life, and each has a unique story to share. For me, writing has turned my life into a journey worth living.

It’s never easy to re-create a difficult experience or to admit a heartfelt truth, though the enlightenment is tantamount to living in peace and joy.

Do you read or write memoirs? If so, do you enjoy the journey they take you on, and why?

Write to Heal and make your mark!


Leanda Michelle ♥

  • 6

Train Trip to Toronto

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Sculptures on Bloor Street East, Toronto

Sculptures – All Walks of Life – Bloor Street East, Toronto

I’d set out on and adventure—a train trip to Toronto—to catch up with friends. To reach my destination would entail a one hour car journey, and a ride on the subway. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Unless you’re in a foreign city!

I’m happy to report it was easy. Although, once upon a time an adventure such as this was daunting.


It was the fear of stepping outside that comfortable cocoon and into the unknown. I was reminded of this when someone said, “You took the subway… in a foreign city, all on your own?” “Yeah.”

The fear of the unknown often stems from memories of previous experiences that have, in the past, played reruns to forewarn of possible dangers. The problem is, the longer one stays in their comfortable cocoon—carrying out the habitual ‘doings’—the stronger the fear and the harder it is to take new steps, and dive into a fresh experience.

On this occasion, I was eager for the adventure. The old reruns had worn out and were past their used-by date, as recent new experiences had shown me, there was nothing to fear.

With any new adventure, there will be interesting happenings along the way. Here’s a snippet of my recent train trip to Toronto:

I watched my host and driver as she pulled away from the curb. Above me on the building I read Indigo Bookstore, one of the shops at the Yorkdale shopping centre. I recalled where my host had said I needed to go. You’ll find the subway at the back of the store to your left.

I had plenty of time to wander and window shop, yet the stores hadn’t opened and wouldn’t for another hour. I found the subway and followed the crowds. People jostled in front of me, and it soon dawned on me that they drive on the right side of the road, so I needed to walk on the right of the path. Phew! It was much easier going with the flow than pushing against it!

I moved to the ticket box and asked the man behind the glass partition if I could please purchase a return ticket to and from Sherbourne Station. The look on his face was a mixture of amusement and empathy. ‘That’ll be $3.25 one way.” “Okay,” I said, waiting for a ticket. “I can give you change,” he said, looking at the $10 bill I held in my hand. “Oh!” I replied, and pushed the bill through the small opening. “Okay, put this in the collection box,” he said, pushing exactly $3.25 through the opening… and here’s your change. You’ll need to go Southbound to St. George and Eastbound to Sherbourne.”

My mind naturally wanted to reply with “Okay, thanks.” yet confusion arose and I stood rooted to the spot, wondering about my return ticket and trying to recall what he’d said. “Can you repeat those instructions, please.” He shouted a little louder, “Southbound to St. George, then Eastbound to Sherbourne.” Yep, that’s what I’d thought he’d said. “If you want proof you’ve paid for your trip you can get a ticket from over there,” he said, pointing to a ticket box.

Really? Thousands of commuters took the subway daily with no proof of payment?

I followed another patron to the platform where the signage indicated Northbound ← and Southbound → showing me which side of the platform I needed to be on. Easy!

Less than a minute later and I boarded a train. At each stop a loud and clear message came through the speakers until 10 stops later, “Arriving now at St. George Station… please disembark on the right.” That was straightforward!

The doors opened to an exit sign and another ‘Eastbound↔Westbound’ sign indicating I needed to go downstairs. Life is simple when we follow the signs. All we need to remember is to stay calm, breathe deeply, listen and be willing to look.

I met my friends, felt relaxed, shared my book and enjoyed their company over lunch. Then the return trip was carried out in reverse.

By the journey’s end, although tired, I felt empowered. I’d gifted self with another slice of freedom (my 2016 mantra). When we embrace a journey and set out with the intent to be open and to enjoy, trusting in the process instead of being guided by our fears, all is in alignment to flow smoothly.

Can you recall your most recent adventure? Was it scary? Did you feel apprehensive? Were you aware of any reruns from past experiences that played in your mind? Once you’d completed it, did you feel empowered?

What adventure does your soul seek? Please share in the comments below.

Thank you for reading. May all your future adventures be safe and showered in love.

Write to Heal and make your mark!


Leanda Michelle ♥


  • 4

Word on the Street

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Word on the street can be found in the most interesting places.

Recently I was taken to downtown Orillia. To give you an idea of where that is, it’s 150kms north east of Toronto, Ontario. Originally a gathering place for the Huron and Iroquois peoples, Orillia is set amongst two connecting lakes: Simcoe and Couchiching. Known as ‘sunshine city’ it is a picturesque town with many a historical building, where tourists flock to music festivals and cultural events.

One of the town’s initiatives is their annual outdoor ‘streets alive’ event. Now in it’s 8th year the showcase of local artists who display their creativity boosts the local economy and offers a sense of pride to the community.

When I last visited Orillia in 2014 the theme was ‘Art Grows’… the planter boxes were amazing! This year – 2016 – is ‘Story Poles’. A nice incentive and reward for artist effort is prize money. Voted by people’s popular choice the winners will be announced August 21st.

I haven’t yet walked the entire five blocks to see all 32 sculptures, yet here’s a few I snapped to share with you… there’s a story behind each one!

Thank you as always for sharing the adventure with me.

Write to heal and make your mark!


Leanda Michelle ♥

  • 10

A Canadian Summer

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thumb_P1260789_1024At last, I’m writing to you from across the pond where I am enjoying a Canadian summer. It’s hot and humid, with the humidex (yes—a Canadian invented word) hovering anywhere between 45 and 65%, yet I don’t mind. There are worse things, like the smell of skunk gas that has breezed in through my bedroom window in the middle of the night! Geez, that’s bad!!!

There are many animals I’m not used to seeing or hearing. For example, I recently heard a pack of coyotes hollowing—combining yelps, yips, barks and high-pitched howls—it was eerie and powerful! There are two reasons for their chorus: to call the family back together again after individual hunting, or to mark their territory and warn other packs not to trespass on their territory.

In the garden where I am staying, I saw my first bumblebee enjoying the nectar inside the Hosta flowers. They’re so much bigger than a honey bee. Then there are the squirrels and chipmunks, ravens and bluejays, each protected and appreciated as part of the whole.

IMG_0824I am surrounded by green, which is unique because in Australia summer usually goes with brown and dry. The shades of green are variegated and lush. While I sit in awe of the magic on this land, Brother wind carries messages through the leaves.

I pause to smile. Have you watched ‘The Lakehouse’ with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves? I must’ve seen this movie more than half a dozen times. Well my dear host, Cathy, asked if I could get the mail from her mailbox. Sure. I went for a walk, collected it and brought it back. Sometime later, a family member arrived home and said, ‘I noticed you haven’t got your mail, I’ll go get it for you.’ ‘No, I’ve got it,’ said Cathy. ‘But the flags still up.’

Then it dawned on me. You’d think having watched ‘The Lakehouse’ I would’ve known to put the red flag down when it had been emptied. HA!

I love these idiosyncrasies, how our country, culture, language and daily living varies. It’s such a treat.

One thing I’ve reconsidered since being here is posting one of my books. If you thought Australia Post was expensive, think again. To give you an idea: Australia Post $6.20 Canada $15.40 (includes the postpack) wow! It’s all good though because the Kindle version of ‘In Light of the Truth’ has been uploaded and is now available to download here… YAY!

Thank you for joining me on this adventure. I appreciate your company. Is there something you’d like to know about Canada? Where have you been and what idiosyncrasies have you noticed?

Till soon… I can feel the creative juices stirring.

Write to Heal and make your mark!


Leanda Michelle ♥