The Memoir

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.

Uh oh.

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

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7 comments

  1. It’s her right to talk about it, and maybe even monetize it. It’s also your right not to get sucked back in to the past. Only you know if it’s worth it to find out what she has to say about it all. In the end it doesn’t change your great life that you have now. I hope she is done with her traumatic times.

  2. Wow, I’d be so nervous about reading it, but if it were me, I don’t know that I could resist. Also, I totally agree with Celeste!

  3. I think I’d be feeling all the same things. Also, will I be more upset if I was included or if I’m not. If you read it you’ll have to let us know.

  4. Totally get your concern here. There is not much worse than someone writing about you, especially when you can’t provide a rebuttal for whatever reason (you don’t have a platform, you can’t speak publicly because of your job, etc.) So glad there wasn’t any issues in the book.

  5. Oh man. Scary and then relieving that it wasn’t super weird. A friend of mine from college is writing a memoir and its manuscript won some award so it may be highly read since she’s a pretty high profile lady. I’m excited to read it but yet eeeeeeeep but then again, if it’s winning awards before it gets published it must be good. I really love what deathstar says (above) and I will think more on it because that idea deserves some discussion.

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