A Proper Memoir: Fact or Opinion?

blog3When I was in the grocery store the other day I noticed an older man involved in a spirited political discussion—with the fruit-stacking guy! Maybe this man was a regular at the store, and the pair had gotten to know each other pretty well over the years. Still, the employee, after all, had fruit to stack, and perhaps the shopper would enjoy not only a wider audience but a structured outlet for expressing himself. Instead of cornering the fruit clerk, I thought: this guy should write a memoir!

Before that happened, I considered a memoir or an autobiography to be a collection of facts—with feeling, yes, but not so much a walk through the person’s politics. But I saw the passion of this man’s discourse and the sincerity in his face as he waved his arms around explaining his views. I realized that, to many people, their politics are as much a part of their life story as the dates of their big events.

If you’re a politically minded person, you might want to devote a chapter just to your opinions. Or maybe you’ll freely sprinkle those views throughout your autobiography. I think it gives readers (even those it might offend!) a real sense of who you are—-which is kind of important in a memoir! So maybe a memoir can be both fact and opinion. Check back next time, when I’ll report on one famous figure who will soon release this type of autobiography.

Photo: ©Serghei Starus