Lately I have had several friends urge me to write a memoir. My reaction is always “Me? Why on earth me?” They all have different reasons but there seems to be common agreement that, told in my own words, the rather unorthodox story of the path of my life so far, could be entertaining. And I admit to often wishing my predecessors had laid down some lines about what it might have been like to be them.
But it’s not as simple as that. I have always thought it terribly self absorbed to write about oneself for the sole purpose of sharing it with others. It’s like believing your own PR. And that’s OK if you walk the walk as well. But we can’t all be Hemingway. What do I know about writing a memoir? My dad believed his own PR. I often felt embarrassed for him.
And what’s more, it’s not my style. I get a nosebleed if I write more than 5000 words on a single topic. Maybe I’m worth 5000 words. That’s a thought. A 5000 word memoir? It would have to be spare. Intense. Like a long haiku? That’s absurd.
It would need to be character driven. Much of it would be about individuals and what role they played in my life. Some of it wouldn’t be very nice. Some of these people still have my address and phone number. And it would just be ridiculous to leave them out entirely.
Putting all this down (on paper) would also give me a dangerously potent voice. My version of my life and those around me would eventually be the only one out there (wherever “out there” is). A hundred years from now I doubt anyone that reads my words will have any way of fact checking. I would be scrupulous in my chronicle, but there wouldn’t be anybody to challenge my version. The best part is I wouldn’t be around to get skewered. Ha! That’s awfully tempting. But who am I to publish the location of all the corpses and their identities and their tastes in wine.
No. Just peel the potatoes.
There is more than enough animosity and discord in my world already. I’ll leave the bull fighting to Ernest.