Different Kinds of Memoirs
Whenever my next door neighbors go on vacation, I cat-sit Cousteau and Picnic. The two cats write daily letters to their mom and dad, telling all about our various adventures. Naturally, there’s a lot to be said about food.
The letters are a cross between the postcard stories I write for my grandchildren whenever I’m away from home and my own memoirs.
As I tell the folks who take the memoirs classes I teach, memoirs come in a lot of different forms. I take photos of the cat diaries so that—years later—I can remember seeing the sharp-shinned hawk in their back yard or recall the day the tree fell across their fence during the hurricane. Some days are ordinary, some are spectacular, but all are worth writing about.
Have you ever wondered how much of herself a writer puts into her books? Of course, the answer will vary depending on who’s doing the writing, but I tend to sprinkle myself around quite liberally in my books, particularly in my Biscuit McKee Mysteries. Of course, the fun of being a writer is that we can revise our personal history somewhat by being very selective about what we tell, just as I select what to tell Cousteau and Picnic's mom and dad about what happens while they're gone.
For some reason this reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw once that said "Don’t anger a writer. You'll end up dead in her next book."
I wish I’d taken a picture of it.