Beth Ann Fennelly defines micro-memoir as: “A true hybrid, the micro-memoir strives to combine the extreme abbreviation of poetry, the narrative tension of fiction, and the truth-telling of creative nonfiction.” Days of Being is a collection of flash memoirs of ordinary moments. Multiple years from my life are represented to reinforce what Madeleine L’Engle once said: “I am still every age that I have been.” I explore various moments that have taken place on each day of the year using journals, old emails, social media posts, photos, text messages, and my clearest memories. I move between the first, second, and third person as I consider my relationship with myself.
Mary Laura Phillpott, author and bookseller, writes that readers need memoirs about everyday people. She says customers “pull down books in which they find some version of themselves as they are now or were in the past or hope to be one day. They start out seeing themselves in others; then they see the other in themselves; then they’re able to see themselves and their own futures differently. I’d say these books transform people, but it’s more that the books help people along while they are already transforming.”
In addition to being memoir, Days of Being is also closely tied to the poetry genre. According to the new National Endowment of the Arts findings, in the past five years, the number of poetry readers in the United States has almost doubled to a total of 28 million adults. This is the highest number the NEA has seen since 2002. More people are turning to poetry and poetic forms. And in a poetry roundup posted in poets.org in November 2016, they introduce poems for difficult times saying: “In times of misfortune, turmoil, and despair—both on the scale of our own, personal lives and on the broader scale of a community, a city, a nation, or the world—it can be difficult to figure out what to do and how to react in what seems to be a darkening, 'widening gyre' of circumstances. But it is these circumstances, as bleak as they may be, that may best allow art to thrive and allow people a place to be their most empathetic, understanding, imaginative, challenging, and, ultimately, most human.”
A lot of what permeates our public dialogue leaves little room for people to be their “most empathetic, understanding, imaginative, challenging, and, ultimately, most human.” Days of Being is for people who are worn out from trying to perform and trying to live up to the internal and external expectations many have come to accept as the “appropriate” life. Days of Being shows us our ordinary lives—and the ordinary moments of each day—are valuable and worthy of our attention.
If you've been reading my Days of Being posts, you might have noticed I've been posting new entries the past several days. I decided I'm going to keep trying to get this book published because I think it has a shot and because I believe it's better to read as a whole instead of as individual posts online. I'll continue to post a couple of micro-memoirs each week on this website. If you're interested in the Days of Being project, you can read more here.