How is the memoir-writing coming? Have you made progress?

Recap:  Two weeks ago in Step 1, we started with the creation of a timeline of events in your life.  Last week, Step 2, we worked on naming one event and perhaps finding photos to remind us of what we were feeling and sensing at the time. So having come that far, keep writing. Sometimes it just takes a stream of consciousness to write an entire story. And don’t forget your personality!

Wait! I just started a sentence with the word “And.” Is that legal? Proper even?

Yes, it is. I’ve been asked this question many times. “Can you start a sentence with “And”? My answer is “Absolutely you can.” Maybe like you, I was taught in fifth grade, and probably again in high school, never to do so. I am here to tell you that you can.

The best I figure, teachers—at least mine in the past—did not want to hear a child’s story:  “And then we went to the store to get candy and soda. And then we went to the drive-in. And then we played in the playground. And then… And then… And then…” And the caveat to never start a sentence with “And” was born. But I now give you permission.

Wait! What’s that? A sentence starting with “But”? Yes, that is okay, too. Words like “And,” “But,” “Or,” “Nor,” they are all okay for starting a sentence, depending on what you are trying to say. So as you write your memoirs, let go of those rules you learned in grammar school or high school. Many of them are outdated or just wrong today.

As a matter of fact, I find that starting a sentence with “And” or “But,” et cetera, adds a bit of a punch to the sentence. Get this: “And God said, ‘Let there be light’: and there was light.”  The word “And” to start the sentence adds a little bit of a punch, right? How about: “But on the edge of town, drills were driven out of his mind by something else” (J. K. Rowling, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, p. 3). Or “But look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,” (Hamlet, William Shakespeare). So you see, these “forbidden” words have been used for many, many years and are totally acceptable to start your sentences.  Use them in your memoirs and other writings.  And, again, don’t forget your personality!