Memoir Basics 3: Adding feelings, judgments, and explanations


My ribs ached

Sometimes you’re trying to hide how you feel. 

While this snippet has the same ‘neutral fact / expand with a feeling’ structure of the last page, it’s used in a different way. The ‘fact’ is Homer’s outside appearance, the ‘feeling’ is what’s happening on the inside. It finishes with a timeframe.

I was sitting nearby, watching television, trying not to scream from the pain each time I breathed. My ribs ached for a month.

Rocket BoysHomer HickmanSource

This hidden, inner world would have been missing in a recount, and the significance of what was happening would have been completely lost.

Here are some examples with the same structure.

We stood there watching Mrs McKenzie’s furniture go into the truck, trying not to jump up and down with joy as each item went in. I don’t know how, but we kept a straight face until the loaded truck left.

I sat quietly outside the principal’s office, while inside I was laughing at the silliness of it all. Keeping it in made my sides ache all afternoon.

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