Pauline Wiltshire: Researching Writing Lives – Writing Lives

Pauline Wiltshire: Researching Writing Lives

I have enjoyed researching further into the life of Pauline, where she came from, what life was like for her and how she dealt with hurdles along the way. I have found it a very eye opening experience, and have learned so much about the importance of memoir writing, especially for people like Pauline. Memoirs not only pose as an escapism for some authors, who find that writing about their past experiences help them over come issues they find hard in dealing with, but also pose as a cog in a collective of memoirs that, combined, are seen as a collective unit filling in gaps in societies history. I felt I was able to interact with more people by using social media and posting regularly on the Writing Lives page, as I was able to engage with people who are interesting in similar topics. I was also able to learn more about other peoples authors and why memoir writing was important to them.

Pauline uncovers past family traumas that are often found in memoir writing, as researchers such as Safe, Rogers and Cuming, and Griffin suggest. She also opens up discussions further about black women’s writing and how important it is to have those memoirs in order to people just like Pauline to feel a sense of community and belonging. This is evidenced with Pauline, as I have mentioned early on in my research she was approached by a young girl who resonated with her writing, spurring her on to write more. Authors like Flinn, Matthews and Waters, who I have referenced throughout, have posed thoughts, theories and questions about black Women’s writing and how important it is. Furthermore, as White and Thomas suggest, there is a gap in memoir-writing history about people with disabilities, and how they have continued to be a ‘forgotten’ group in autobiographical writing. Pauline stands with other black, disabled women in widening the discussion about their place in society and how their voices need to be heard.

I believe my contribution to research and collaborative memoir writing is down to the learning I have experienced by learning and understanding Pauline’s life, struggles and how she over comes them. I have learned that memoirs contribute to communities in society on a huge scale, and they can also be used as political stances in order to overcome systematic oppression within society, as pointed out in my ‘race and immigration’ blog post. Blogging has enabled me to be more aware of the importance of peoples personal stories, where they come from and why they are important to both the individual and and collective of people who can relate to those stories. I hope to take away a sense of gratitude to memoir archives and continue to respect their importance for people like Pauline, as her memoir writing saved her life.

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