To Memoir or Not To Memoir

Hey everyone, Flobo here!

Sometimes I wonder why I have a blog. It’s not like there’s a dire need for them on the Internet. It’s also not like I’m one of the chosen few who actually get thousands of views per post (it’s actually quite sad how many views I get a day). So why do it? Well, for one I can discuss my new passion with writing (in writing), and share it with a virtual audience. The modest side of me says it’s good therapy to let it all out, while the side rollin’ with hubris thinks that if I keep blogging, I’ll become an Internet celebrity. Both sides are wrong, and the truth is actually somewhere in the middle. OK, why am i bringing this up now?

MEMOIRS

Ever so often I meet someone and we get to chattin’. After the normal small talk, most people hit what I like to call “Level 2”. This is where the first barrage of personal questions come your way. (Level 2 actually is a two-way street, but you get the picture). You know the stuff I’m talking about: Where are you from originally? How many brothers and sisters do you have? Where are your parents from? The last question usually gets me, as I’m usually puzzled as to why anyone would care where my PARENTS are from (as if that would change things)

“Oh, I thought you were from Queens, but seeing  that your parents are from Brooklyn well, I just can’t talk to you.”

Anyway, during the course of Level 2, I would let slip that I’m a writer and that I was born in Brooklyn, but lived in North Florida and Central America before settling in Los Angeles. Then most people would suggest I should write my story down as a memoir (as it’s the perfect marriage of writing, travelogue, and life experience). I usually balk at this. Do people really want to read about this guy?

Not Pictured: That awesome strike I just bowled

I bring this up as I’m sure you know somebody that has either written a memoir (or autobiography and YES, they are different) or is thinking about writing one. As for me, there’s definite pros and cons:

PROS:

1. With a memoir, you can tell people YOUR STORY in your own words. You can make yourself as cool or as lame as you want, “but with great power comes great responsibility”.

2. Once written, your memories and life experiences are there in print. They can’t be taken away from you. You can pass it down to your kids, or give it to your friends around the holidays like a fruitcake.

3. If your life stories are funny/heart-wrenching/entertaining enough, you can get commissioned to write more. Like Tucker Max, or Karrine Steffans.

4. You tell people you’re a writer and they ask you to write a story about them. Here’s  a quick way to do it!  Mission accomplished!

CONS

1. Who’s going to read it? Most people aren’t celebrities. In fact, if they were celebrities, they would have to invent a word for people we consider celebrities now. I can’t get my friends to read a fully realized novel for $2, let alone a tome about a guy who’s life doesn’t fit in a three act structure.

2. Change the names or not, you’re going to piss somebody off. Whether it’s that crazy relative that made you hate your life or that ex that ruined romantic relationships for you, if you are going to be unflinchingly honest be prepared for the backlash. People have been sued for stuff that’s been written in some memoirs.

3. This is a big one for me. I’m not just fishing for compliments when I say I’m a bum. I honestly don’t think I’m all that special, even though people have told me otherwise. Yes, I know I’m venturing into Humblebrag territory, but I’m just being honest. What’s to say if I release a memoir today, that my life improves ten fold afterward? Do I have to write an addendum? What about the opposite? I’m flying high and then after releasing the book BAM!!, I’m back at the bottom like a bad turn in Snakes&Ladders. Then what? Do I cling to my book as “the good ‘ol days?”

So I tended to side with the “Hell NO” camp when I was asked about it. So why am I on the fence all of a sudden? That question has got me a bit confused as well. You see:

A friend of mine gave me a chapter of his girlfriend’s relative’s memoir that he wanted me to adapt into a screenplay. Obviously I can’t go into too much detail but it’s a coming of criminal age story in the vein of “Casino”, “Goodfellas” and “Scarface” Anywho, I’m trying to pull the most interesting plot threads to weave into the short story and I realized that I was really getting into this “character’s” relationship with his friend. As soon as I stepped back and read it like it was a work of fiction (knowing full well it wasn’t) I started to enjoy it immensely.  Then the egotistical side of me (the side I try to suppress but ever so often I fail at it) rears his head. He’s all like:

“Ssssss Flobo. You can do one of theesssee if you triiiiied…”

My egotistical side is persuasive….

So my Id and SuperEgo are at an impasse. More on this developing tale……

–Flobo


2 thoughts on “To Memoir or Not To Memoir

  1. Ha. I like this post. I think that if you took on a memoir from a different angle than usual – I dunno, like a humor memoir (there’s a few of those floating around) you could skirt a lot of the bad stuff. In the end, you shouldn’t write a memoir unless you want to though. Do it for the enjoyment of it. 🙂

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