To memoir or not to memoir, that is the question

Don’t you just love it when someone else articulates something you’ve been thinking about / trying to say? Tayari Jones again, on whether writing a memoir is the right thing to do:


And it made more wonder if having the RIGHT to hurt someone makes it okay to do so.

In this piece I talk quite a bit anout my dad. Was it really okay for me to talk about him? Of course I have the right and desire to tell my own story, but I can’t really tell it without him.

She concludes:

I don’t know. I think I prefer the safe realm of fiction.

!!! I’ve thought a great deal about writing a memoir. This is always where I end up. Fiction does feel safe to me. I can write about more significant, weightier subjects in fiction than I can in memoir. The distance of fiction allows me to get nearer to the truth, if that makes any sense.

Writing a memoir would mean writing about my family, my childhood. That’s the key to the whole thing. Without that, there’s no point. But when I write personal non-fiction, even if I’m just testing it out, in a Word doc, I find myself hedging when it comes to my family. Who they are is crucial to who I am, hence I must write about them, if I am to write my story.

But the good daughter in me balks at hurting anyone. No one in my story is evil. There is no big bad.

It would be much easier if there was.

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