What’s the difference between an autobiography and a memoir?
One pretty much tells the details of a life. The other one can really be any way an author chooses to talk about their life.
Why do people choose to write a memoir?
As I mentioned yesterday, after a lifetime of reading fiction, I expanded by reading non fiction. I fell in love with the memoir essay genre. I think this was the genre that I was born to write because it suits my natural style as a writer.
When I blogged yesterday, it was about a question that I did have as I was reading memoirs: does the memoirist have the right to tell the story of another? The post was generic, but in the comments I mentioned that I was thinking of writing an essay type book about my relationship with my Mother.
This garnered comments about the “Why”.
Why did I want to tell these stories?
Did I want to intentionally hurt my Mother by revealing how I feel? How I interpreted things?
Was I just trying to get her to apologize?
Was I trying to shame her?
So let’s get general first:
When someone writes a memoir, what is their intention?
We can think about Educated or Glass Castle or Untamed, which are three fairly popular memoir/essay type books.
When the authors of these books talk about their lives, and directly or indirectly, the people in them- do we think that these authors are intentionally setting out to hurt the people they talk about?
Or are they just telling a story?
Is it better to keep the story locked inside of oneself?
Or is it better to put everything out on the table?
Let’s branch out: If someone is the victim of a crime or sexual/physical abuse: Do they have the right to tell their story?
Or is it not their story to tell?
What if someone is a victim of emotional abuse?
Whose story is it to tell?
Monica Lewinsky- was that a story we wanted her point of view on?
We are going to jump into fiction for a moment: Do you ever read a fiction book and immediately wonder how much of the story is real? Do researchers spend time and energy trying to figure out who each fictional character is “supposed to be”?
Realistically, every time we tell a story, we risk exposing something or someone…Is that better because it’s “fiction” and therefore we can deny it?
now we are jumping back to reality:
Do we not write something because we are afraid of hurting a relationship? Should I choose to not write memoir/essay because it will hurt my Mother? Will it damage the relationship?
Is there a relationship if the two parties are not truthful with one another?
Is there a relationship if one person tries to be dominant or control the other?
Does a relationship need to be 50/50 in order to survive?
I was asked how I would feel if my daughter was to tell me things that I did wrong, how would I feel?
Well, my daughter has most definitely told me ways in which I have failed her as a Mother.
And I admit that these things, hearing them said out loud, hurt.
I listened to her with an open mind and open heart because I know that our relationship going forward must be based on truth and our perceptions of it. There is always hurt before we heal.
If I want to have an adult relationship with my adult daughter I must be aware that she is going to tell me things that I don’t want to hear. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t need to hear them.
If your child is asking you to listen to them, understand their point of view, as parents, isn’t it our job to listen?
Doesn’t it behoove us to try to amend our behavior that is obviously toxic to that relationship?
When any two people are in any type of relationship, aren’t we supposed to listen to one another? Aren’t we supposed to work to make something better?
Ok- I totally digressed…
Let’s get back to the original hypothesis:
Should people write memoirs?
Do you think that the intention of memoirists is to shame people in their lives- a little “Ha ha- I got you” moment?
Or do you think they just want to tell their story?
I know from yesterday that there are many who would go as far as to censure themselves in the hope of not hurting someone…but…should we?
Let’s get personal:
What do we think of memoir/essays?