Happy Friday to all brave souls who have answered the call to write! Writing is hard, but, you know you’ve done it well, when it flows so easily on the page. You people are my kind of folk:) If you haven’t already heard, the month of April will be dedicated to the memoirist who have written or in the act of writing their truths.
To some degree, I’ve harbored thoughts of how friends and family might feel after reading my story. Would they be hurt? disappointed? disagreeable? Would they be offended? Nagging thoughts of what other people think can hinder someone wanting to write their memoir. Frankly, I wasn’t too bummed out when a virus attack and no backup system totally destroyed 40,000 words to my less than stellar attempts to write my memoir a few years ago. Now, that I’ve written a little personal e-book, A Life Toward Authenticity-My Authentic Woman Story :)I realize that my truths are mine and mine alone. Memoir writers have to have thick skins.
When Oprah Winfrey touted James Frey for his memoir “A Million Little Pieces” back in 2006, I was one of many who ran out to purchase his masterpiece. I was inspired by his courage and saddened by the death of his girlfriend… and then, James Frey fell from grace for fabricating important details in his book. A memoir is based on ones’ truth-their authentic stories. Stories that could affect any number of people in any number of ways. What James Frey did was wrong, in that he called his story “memoir” I was reluctant to tell certain details of my story and that’s okay. No one need tell every detail in the telling of their story. And ,there are creative ways to get around hurt feelings, but, lies have no place in truth writing.
Should memoir writers use avoidance where it could be a pivotal point in the story? I think I’d prefer reading a work devoid of certain facts, instead of one filled with inconsistencies and fabrications. If James Frey had labeled his story a work of fiction, he could have avoided the fallout from his distorting the truth. So, how much is too much in the telling of your story and why should you care, as long as it’s based on the facts as you remember them occurring in your life?
It’s difficult to write ones memoir. Even if you have had a wonderful life, it’s not easy to share with others. When I wrote my memoir, “Of Roots and Wings,” I committed myself to total honesty. In my heart and soul the truth would set me free – but only if I were honest. For two years my rational thoughts considered who I might offend, did my sisters see things differently than me?, would I expose people I had put on a pedestal for years of my life? Will there by retribution by the church for clergy abuse? Will there be repercussions from the mafia by exposing the truth, from a little girls perspective? Will my abusive ex-spouse seek me out ? Such a myriad and cyclonic dervish wind surrounded me. One night while drifting off to sleep, I carefully considered sharing my pain and triumphs with an audience. Somewhere in the night, I awoke and realized that most of the pain in my life had been kept hidden – once shared my pain eased. Then I heard a clear, confident voice from within –what has been the purpose of my life if not to share it with others? In so doing, others may be encouraged by my experiences, thoughts, and feelings. I decided to share my memoir and offer inspiration and hope to others. My memoir has done that and more I am truly blessed.
Julie Swope, http://www.julieswope.com
Mary Williams, the adopted daughter of Jane Fonda, have said in interviews that she refused to listen to the star when she wanted to confide in Mary about the deterioration of her 10 year marriage to Ted Turner. One can only imagine how the story would have read, if Mary Williams had been made privy to the actual cause of the Jane Fonda/Ted Turner divorce. The brave people who write their authentic truths, for whatever reason, always stir emotions in their readers, in some form or fashion. I’m encouraged by reading the truths of others.
Are you hesitant about writing your memoir because you fear what others might think or you fear the possibility of hurting a loved one? Did you read a Million Little Pieces? Any thoughts you’d like to share?