Candor in Memoirs: Don’t Ask, but Do Tell?

blog8You’ve probably heard about the disturbing revelations Mackenzie Phillips bares in her new memoir. According to reports, many of her family members are not pleased that she decided to do this, and some don’t even believe her account of the events. As you sit down to write your own life story, are there details you’d like to include that you feel might hurt family members or friends?

You may find that this is one of the toughest decisions you’ll make as you proceed with your writing. Maybe your daughter doesn’t want your grandson to know that you smoked when you were a teenager. Perhaps apprising everyone about an early first marriage will be upsetting to them. Or you may be second-guessing a passage that, in simply communicating your impressions and opinions, recalls Cousin Pat in a less-than-flattering description. Maybe the “dirty laundry??? you’re airing isn’t even your own, and someone will feel betrayed that you’ve let a cat out of the bag.

Only you can weigh other people’s feelings against how important it is to you to be fully candid as you write your memoirs. Your name is on this, and others all have the same opportunity to state their own case if they so choose. Here at WriteMyMemoirs, we’d love to hear how our autobiographers are handling this aspect. Comment on this post if you’d like to share.

Photo: © Renata Osinska