Blogtalk: Writing and Publishing Memoir 2

OKAY, this is about an older blog (ancient … as in April for heaven’s sake) at Writer’s Digest about memoir writing, titled “Back to Basics: Writing & Publishing Memoir.” But Jane includes so many wonderful links to other articles, it took me this long to read it, and I just had to pass it on, as well as to comment — especially because I recently attended a roundtable discussion where I was told by an agent that “nobody wants memoirs.”

I beg to differ.

“It depends,” is all I would have said if I thought it would have any effect on his opinion. But it wouldn’t, so I kept my jaw clamped shut. Until later.

And today, thanks to Shirley over at, I found out about the NPR interview with Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors. Apparently, his brother and mother have also now published memoirs about their family life — or should I say lives, because each has his or her own view of things. And don’t we all.

Memoir is, after all, about memory. And memory is how we capture and make meaning of our lives, i.e. is therefore a subjective, personal sense of truth, not Truth with a capital “T.” But what an interesting interview and fodder for discussion! As author Lynn Neary states in her article, “Memoirs have been much maligned of late because they are all about memory. But while they may be notoriously unreliable vehicles for facts, they are endlessly fascinating sources of speculation about what really is the truth.”

What do you think? Is there a difference between truth and Truth? In other words, while we may be able to agree on certain facts, is there only one, true, objective meaning? Or might there be more than one truth and all of them The Truth?


If you’re curious …

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2 thoughts on “Blogtalk: Writing and Publishing Memoir

  • Linda Sievers

    Hmmmm. For me, the one Truth I observe is that everything changes. Thoughts, feelings come and go, and so do we and all that we love. We are surrounded by continual change. When we experience something, we are in one emotional place, and then when we remember, we are experiencing that memory by how we are feeling/thinking in that moment of remembering the experience. Since I believe that everything is always changing, I’m not sure what little ‘truths’ are. Perhaps when we write memoir we are trying to find ‘connection’ with ourselves and others that resonates with a ‘moment’ of a thought or feeling. I’m not sure that truth is the issue, but perhaps ‘recognition?’

    Sorry to be so long winded here, but this agent that said nobody wants memoirs, I wonder, who is “nobody?” Him? People who want mystery thrills? Fantasy? Entertainment? Other? How narrow his scope.

    • Amber Lea Starfire

      Linda, yes, I guess change IS the only constant (as they say) 🙂 Truth may not be the issue — though you wouldn’t know that by reading the bruhaha in the media — but I think meaning is. I believe we write about our lives, just like we used to sit around the fire and tell stories, to create and/or to understand the meaning of life’s events.

      And the agent? Yes, how narrow indeed …