Political Briefs
Monterey, California

Memoir Writing

For my 60th birthday my daughters bought me private memoir writing lessons. After my first meeting with the writing tutor and a week's procrastination, I took advantage of the isolation and lack of distraction of a weekend at Monterey to get a lot of writing done. I have written literally hundreds of pages of autobiography, but all of them have been drech, because I didn't understand the difference between memoir and autobiography. No one cares about the name of my sixth grade teacher. What makes good reading is how I felt, what I said, and what I did, plus dialog. In short, an obsession with what it was like, not the details. I am trying to bring up these things, with some help from a professional writer. So far, so good, I think. It is intensely personal, and I have zero plans ever to publish except for my family, but as my older daughter put it, "Wouldn't you like to write some memoirs someday that someone might actually read?" Well, yes. The first batch seems to be mostly about my dad, which surprises me, since I have always felt closer to my mother.