I found out today that someone I met and befriended our freshman year of college and was friends with for several years later is publishing a memoir. A memoir that begins with her arrival at our college.
Her story is realizing she was attending a college not right for her, meeting THE BOY, becoming pregnant, and marrying this boy. Some really bad things happened along the way, including a hysterectomy after the birth of her second child and that child’s death from surgery to correct a heart defect a year later. The point of the book is her descent into darkness, bitterness and despair and how she pulled herself out of it.
There is a lot more involved in that story as there always is. I’m curious how she tells her story. What – and who – she leaves out. There were some not-so-great things that she did to me during freshman year and especially the period before my wedding, which happened at a critical point in her story (she was a bridesmaid). She wasn’t in a good place then. She wasn’t a good person then. I was probably less sensitive and empathetic than I could have been.
She and I ended our friendship in 2001 but reconnected on Facebook (of course) a decade later. I forgave her. She forgave me. We apologized. We aren’t friends again, per se, but we share memories and friends.
I realize that she is telling her story, and in telling a story, you whittle and shape it into its tightest, most concise form. I can’t decide what bothers me more: will I be included? Did I make the cut? Did I matter at all in her story? Or will all of the peripheral details, people and ugliness be left out? Putting words to the page crafts a version of reality. Can my memories compete against her written story? Or are they defeated and negated?
It’s her memoir after all.
ETA: we downloaded the book, and I’m halfway through. Thankfully, this was a lot of sturm and drang for nothing. She spends about half a page on college and moves on. Other events were not mentioned at all, and it was fine. It is a compelling story, and she is a good writer.
Forgive me my freak out over it, but it is truly a weird feeling when someone you know pens a memoir!
Here’s the link: The Journey of the Black Heart