Wise words from Eudora Welty


Here’s a thought from a prolific writer, about one of the things that we might not have expected, but can get from life-writing.

I never in my wildest dreams thought I would write anything autobiographical.  Of course, many things in my life were used in the stories, but they were very much transformed.  I never expected to write about my mother, or anything like that.  The unhappy fact is that usually by the time you’re ready to think about your parents they’re gone, and can’t tell you anything.  That happened with both my parents.  But I’m awfully glad I did do this book [One Writer’s Beginnings], because it made me explicitly know what I owed things to.

From an interview with Hermione Lee published in Writing Lives: Conversations between Women Writers.  Virago 1988.

I’m a big fan of making a record of our lives.  Aside from this interesting personal outcome, have you thought about what you leave for the future?

Imagine the joy of some future family researcher, stumbling across an account of what your life was like?  Perhaps they can guess things from your electronic footprint, but how will they interpret that intriguing purchase you made in July 2014?  Was it really for you?  If not, who could you have bought such an item for?

We will always be too late to find some things out, and the longer we leave it…

So, if you’re looking for a deadline to get you started, I came across this interesting competition the other day, a memories competition that will benefit Alzheimer’s sufferers:


National Memory Day Creative Writing Competition Closing: 5pm Friday 20th January 2017

Theme: MEMORIES. You may enter as many times as you wish.

Each entry must consist of:

  • A completed Entry Form • A copy of your poem or short story on separate sheets for each entry • The entry fee.

All funds raised go towards placing Poets-in-Residence in Memory Cafes around the UK to work with people living with memory loss. This project is delivered in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society, Plymouth University and the Poetry Archive.

Word Limit:

  • Max 100 lines for a poem • Max 1500 words for your short story

Entry Fee: £3 per first entry and £2 for all subsequent entries which are entered at the same time.

All funds raised will be invested in the Memory Café Poetry project which places Poets-in-Residence with Memory Cafes provided by the Alzheimer’s Society. Poets will work with people living with memory loss to recite poetry to stimulate and share memories.