Thursday, February 5, 2009

Memoir: Who cares?

The one thing that makes me the maddest about writing memoir is that fellow writers and professors are always asking "Why should I care about this story? What makes this story different than other memoirs about the same material?" They say, "Sure, this is a very interesting story and it's well-written, but what makes me care?"

When one picks up a fictional novel, and finds it interesting and well-written, then they become invested in the story and they care. Why does it have to be any different for memoir? Why does the author have to state clearly: "This is why my story matters to you. This is what you should take out if it. This is why I'm different than everyone else"?

I write memoir because I think that people might be interested in my story about growing up with a sister with a rare Autistic disorder. I share funny, sad, insightful, and frustrating moments from my life with my sister and if people can get something out of those moments, then great! If they simply find it an interesting story, and want to learn more about Angelman's Syndrome, then I'm happy with that, too. 

Even in my fiction, I don't like to point out the obvious or even write flashy plots to attract readers. I hope that my writing quality and content are enough to bring my writing an audience, and I believe that memoir isn't really any different.

I read memoirs because the writer has evoked something in my in their descriptions, in their emotions that bring me to identify with the author, not because they point out a lesson that I, too, could learn from their experience. That is why I care about memoir.

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Sorry for the long break from blogger. I've been having internet issues, and the start of the new semester has been a little hectic. I'll post a lot more from now on, promise.

L. Stacks

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