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Shwebb
08-20-2007, 12:34 AM
What holds you back from writing stories about your life?

Please elaborate, if possible. Inquiring minds want to know!

Little Red Barn
08-20-2007, 12:39 AM
Beside the agent? teehee...

No, seriously, for me it was keepimg myself (the inner child) seperate at a safe distance from the adult.

Susan B
08-20-2007, 07:51 AM
Initially thought of my story as writing about others--another culture, other people, a style of music that captivated me. I resisted the idea of focusing on my personal experience, my own struggles. I got pushed in that direction (by my writing mentor, by writing peers.) It's a tough thing, to allow yourself to be the instrument.

Good question, Shwebb!

Susan

nancy sv
08-20-2007, 07:55 AM
I will admit it feels like I'm airing my dirty laundry... Uncomfortable, to say the least.

Mandy-Jane
08-20-2007, 07:58 AM
I'd love to write a story about my life (not that it's that interesting!), but the one thing that would stop me is that certain people may get hurt (those people being my parents). I couldn't do that.

Shwebb
08-20-2007, 04:45 PM
That's a neat way to put it, Susan. We do become narrators in our own lives when we write memoir, don't we?

I used to be about protecting people, until I realized, "why should they need protecting, other than their privacy?" My life is also about how I remember it--I can guarantee that I'd hear a bunch of "it didn't happen that way at all."

But it wasn't all sadness and loss--there were some great times within the hard stuff. Even the really difficult times, instants of joy. Those are what I want to focus on, even though I still have to go through the hard stuff to get to the good.

Thanks for your answers!

A.M. Wildman
08-20-2007, 04:53 PM
I've had a fairly interesting life. (Suppose that depends on how you define interesting.) Many of the things I've seen, done or participated in I can't talk about. Not openly anyway. Some of it I would rather not have to re-live in the process of writing it down and honestly I'd rather forget it if I can.

I do notice that some of it does slip into my writing and my character's experiences etc. Other than that I'm a reasonably private person and would prefer to keep it that way.

I guess that means if you want to read my memoir you'll have to buy my books and read between the lines. :D

larocca
08-20-2007, 05:00 PM
I spent most of my life knowing that stories are about imagination, and exposing the nature of reality, not my own boring stupid life. But my lovely wife, Jan, spent 10 months telling me that she fell in love with me because of those beautiful stories I told her about myself. Yeah, the boring stuff. Jeez.

Finally, I decided I wouldn't write my story. I'd write Mom's story. She wasn't alive to write it herself, and hers was a story that needed to be told. Best thing I ever wrote. "Michael" is the first-person narrator, but he's a camera.

In China, a psychologist turned university teacher decided to form a women's reading group. All women writers, all women readers. But they made one little exception, since the first book they read was RISING FROM THE ASHES, which is the one I was just telling you about. I wasn't at any of the meetings, since I'm a guy, but Jan told me what they discussed. I'm so proud.

(Damn, where'd that wave of emotion come from?)

That book ended when I was 26. I wrote it when I was 38. It occurred to me that Mom never lived to see me masturbate boars for a living, so perhaps I had the makings of a comic sequel to some serious literature. After AN AMERICAN REDNECK IN HONG KONG, I eventually wrote about my life teaching in China, and after that I stopped writing.

So what held me back? Like I clicked in the survey, I didn't want to bore anybody. Not that such concerns ever stopped me from posting in this here forum...

scarletpeaches
08-20-2007, 08:02 PM
Too many people would be hurt.

I wouldn't want to tell my life story unless I could do so with complete honesty, but if I did that, other people's secrets would be revealed and accusations would be made about my childhood experiences.

Del
08-20-2007, 08:05 PM
No one believes it. Apparently my life is fiction.

Salem
08-20-2007, 08:07 PM
My family would kill me if they knew what I've done!

KTC
08-20-2007, 08:30 PM
I chose other. Nothing is really stopping me. I'm doing it in increments. I've had several true story essays published over the years. I guess I'm just too lazy to sit down and do a complete memoir. From age 13-19 (approx.) I had quite a crazy ride. Lots to write about...but I'm not sure if I have it in me to write it?

jennifer75
08-20-2007, 08:32 PM
Other...

I really don't know if I want people to know that these things really happened.

jennifer75
08-20-2007, 08:33 PM
Too many people would be hurt.

I wouldn't want to tell my life story unless I could do so with complete honesty, but if I did that, other people's secrets would be revealed and accusations would be made about my childhood experiences.

But would it sell?????? :)

scarletpeaches
08-20-2007, 08:35 PM
There's a glut of "Oh poor me, I had a terrible childhood," books on the market just now, at least in the UK. White cover, back of a child's head, titles like "Please Daddy don't bum me," or "Mummy stop hitting me," or, "The priest made me touch him."

So I've probably missed my chance, 'cause by the time I write my memoir, "Mummy hit me a lot then stole some money and ran off with a strange man and expected me to appear on television to discuss our 'issues' and got a police officer to threaten me with a good kicking when I wouldn't play," that publishing ship will have sailed, I think.

Rich
08-20-2007, 08:39 PM
I get the urge to write a memoir about once a year, but the expectations from editors is to have some kind of story unfold, or at least an arc. My memoirs would not have either.

benbradley
08-20-2007, 08:41 PM
Would anyone really be interested in how I learned to tell lies through my participation in an organization that says you have to be completely honest or you'll die a miserable, horrible death?

Pat~
08-20-2007, 08:44 PM
What holds you back from writing stories about your life?

Please elaborate, if possible. Inquiring minds want to know!


I once had an agent suggest I write my story. He preferred that idea to the book idea I was pitching him. Unfortunately, I didn't. I would think it'd be very tedious to write about yourself for 10-12 months (or however long you'd have to)--and emotionally draining, with respect to what he wanted me to write about (a bout with clinical depression and more 8 years ago). Sometimes it seems agents (readers?) are more interested in the bad experiences with all the icky details, than they are in how it shaped you and matured you. I would rather offer a book on what that all taught me, than dwell on the person I once was.

Shwebb
08-20-2007, 08:51 PM
Truly, the funny thing is that I really would be more of a narrator in my own story. Sure, there are reactions from me--but it's really about what the other people in my life were like, what they were doing. A multi-biography, maybe?

Unique
08-21-2007, 04:10 AM
No one believes it. Apparently my life is fiction.
Ditto.

sunna
08-21-2007, 04:44 AM
Many, many, many reasons...

1. I like to write (and read) a coherent, themed, and at least marginally linear story with a reasonably neat conclusion. Anyone who's observed me for more than a day will have a pretty good idea how likely that is in my actual life.

2. Most of the people that would be featured in my life story are still alive and living nearby, and, well, I was kind of hoping to stay that way myself for at least another five decades.

3. While my life looks fairly interesting if I list the high points fast, it can best be described as long stretches of relative tedium broken by moments of terror and/or hilarity. Not the best read, I am sure.

Oh, and also I'm a bit of a coward when it comes to this stuff. :)

Shwebb
08-21-2007, 05:38 AM
There are things I'd like to write about with regard to my family, too--but I don't want to hurt feelings about some of the dumb stuff they've done.

Like my aunt who thought it would be a good idea to have her cat stuffed when it died.

Unique
08-21-2007, 06:15 AM
Like my aunt who thought it would be a good idea to have her cat stuffed when it died.

Why is that weird? Wasn't it life-like? Maybe she needed a better taxidermist.
quit looking at me like that!

dclary
08-21-2007, 08:03 AM
What is an Eggpland?

Ravenlocks
08-21-2007, 08:32 AM
I put Other, although I was tempted to put that my life is boring. But it's really not, I just have nothing to say about it. My writing all seems to come in the form of fiction. Maybe that's because I just don't like reality and prefer to escape it if possible.

larocca
08-21-2007, 06:48 PM
Would anyone really be interested in how I learned to tell lies through my participation in an organization that says you have to be completely honest or you'll die a miserable, horrible death?

I would. But if you wrote it, would I believe you?

RumpleTumbler
08-21-2007, 06:51 PM
People want a happy ending. If there is going to be one it isn't in sight.

larocca
08-21-2007, 06:53 PM
Scwebb's aunt's stuffed cat sounds like a happy ending.

Cath
08-21-2007, 08:25 PM
For me there's an element of opening old wounds in writing about my own life. I don't want to revisit difficult times I've already come to terms with, but I can't cope with writing about sensitive situations I'm currently experiencing. Writing, for me, is not a cathartic exercise.

Of course, that's no excuse not to write humor or observational pieces.

benbradley
08-23-2007, 07:41 AM
I would. But if you wrote it, would I believe you?

This won't be the only time I'm compared to James Frey...

larocca
08-23-2007, 07:43 AM
I suppose that's better than being compared to Glenn Frey...

Monkey
08-24-2007, 09:54 PM
1)I'm a teacher's wife and a stay-at-home mom. My community doesn't need to hear about my rowdy teenage years, the details of which I won't even hint at, lest people get offended :)

2)My family doesn't need to know about my sexual past, and darn it, that would take up too much space in the book. It is integral to the plot, though, so it would have to stay.

3)I have had some unsavory jobs and I have dealt with some unsavory people, some of whom have been released from jail already and wouldn't have too hard a time finding me.

4)Much of what I would write would strain credibility. Real life really is stranger than fiction.

5)My kids. do. not. need. to. know.

sunna
08-24-2007, 10:12 PM
2)My family doesn't need to know about my sexual past, and darn it, that would take up too much space in the book. It is integral to the plot, though, so it would have to stay.

Right there with you. :) I wrote a memoir piece in college about body image and sexuality, and it had a few scenes with details that seemed fine when it was a prof and a bunch of fellow students reading them. The day after I graduated I stupidly left all my stuff in the living room and went upstairs to sleep....and when I came back down my mom had read my entire portfolio. Being my mom, she acted all cool about it to my face, and then told all four of her shamelessly curious sisters. Now I get asked about it at at least 3 family parties per year.

I'm not ever writing memoir again. At least not without buying a shredder first.

Monkey
08-25-2007, 12:21 AM
I wrote a memoir piece in college about body image and sexuality, and it had a few scenes with details that seemed fine when it was a prof and a bunch of fellow students reading them. The day after I graduated I stupidly left all my stuff in the living room and went upstairs to sleep....


Can you imagine if it were published?
:roll:


No way I'm writing a memoir.

Melisande
08-28-2007, 01:28 AM
I put "Other" for different reasons.

First, I wouldn't be able to be objective enough to tell that story.
Second, because there are huge parts of my childhood I can not remember.
Third, I don't really think anyone would be interested enough to read about my life. It bores even me.
Fourth, I am afraid I would lie, even to myself about myself.

jerrywaxler
08-28-2007, 04:25 PM
What holds you back from writing stories about your life?

Please elaborate, if possible. Inquiring minds want to know!

Like Michelangelo seeing David within a block of raw granite, I think we all have a story lurking within the raw material of our lives. We just have to find it. But that's not what holds me me back. In fact, it drives me forward. I'll let you know when Iím done chipping.

As far as whether or not itís self-involved to tell my story, in this blog essay (http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/is-it-narcissism-to-share-your-story/) I flip this problem upside down and claim that itís self-involved not to tell it.

Sincerely,
Jerry Waxler

brutus
08-28-2007, 05:50 PM
m!