21 Jan Woe to the Memoir Writer
I am a memoir writer. I became one quite by accident, then by choice. You can tell I am a memoir writer by the simple fact that I start every single sentence (ok, most) with “I”. Apart from the narcissistic value of “I”, there is also the benefit of telling stories as they seem to me, from my perspective. Me, myself and I are, perhaps, the most important tools for the memoir writer.
I’ve never taken myself nor life too seriously. I couldn’t handle it. Overall, I try to take people, situations, etc…seriously, but I use laughter as a mental protection mechanism. The rest of the time I’m crying. Apparently, this lavish written display of private emotions gets reader’s attention. People who enjoy reading, that is. One needs to be highly specific these days.
I have published 4 books of memoirs. By now, many of those who know me, but are not readers — or at least not readers of my books (thank God) — ask me things like, “so, what have you been doing? Busy writing another of those ‘my life’ stories?” An ironic, yet friendly smile usually follows.
You see, after the 3rd book I intended to stop writing nonfiction. But as my life happens to be highly intense and amazingly interesting to some people, I thought “What the heck, if my life didn’t happen to me I wouldn’t believe it, so I might as well write about it.”
In my passionate endeavor to describe facts, feelings and people in the most minute details, I failed to comprehend the impact my artistic demons would have on the victims of my stories. It never once crossed my mind the thought that I might, unknowingly, hurt or misrepresent people. Now logical thought rarely occurs in my mind regardless, but a certain sort of decency might have prevented me to write some of my truths. But then, there’s no value in writing non-fiction if I have to veil entire sentences and pages in gold plated irrelevant, dispassionate characters. You have to keep it real if you are writing about real people.
I have been encouraged by many to write fiction. While I have the best intentions — and a fairly sick and creative mind – I still believe that what I see, experience in real life beats any imaginary human scenario.
Over the years, I have literally trained my brain and my eyes to notice everything. It is often common that I can be out with friends and family and I mentally register entire conversations, perfumes, attitudes, falsities, kindness, fun, great speakers, jokes…and I start writing. In my head. While those close to me are sometimes upset because I seem distant and distracted, they don’t know that they are LITERALLY in my thoughts. (And I hope I’m in their prayers.)
It is astonishing to me that while simply walking down a street or sipping some tea or going to an event, I’d meet someone for the first time who’d tell me their life story because they’ve heard I was a writer.
Since my 4th book was published (not yet in the U.S.), nobody wants to see me. Well, not really, but they all know there’s a new rule if want to hang out or work with Ioana. What you say to me or in my presence could become great fodder for my next book or blog. You just have to accept the fact that your squeaky-clean ‘back facial’ will be mentioned in a paragraph, your ignorant comment about dolphins will be revealed, or your blabbering about finger monkeys will headline my next story.
Don’t worry. While you are at high risk of knowing me, you’d be at an even higher risk of not laughing with me. So, a big ‘thank you’ all for your friendship and support. I owe it all to you! And NO, I will never reveal anything trusted to me in confidence. I can still be a good friend, if you allow me to be a writer.