Since today is Valentine’s Day, let’s talk about love and romance! This can be a sticky topic in a memoir. How much information is too much?
Consider your audience and your goal. If you’re writing your memoirs primarily for your children, grandchildren and friends, you may want to limit your courtship stories to the person or people who have been important to your family. If you have been married to one person for decades, that person is probably the only one you’ll want to talk about. A couple of charming anecdotes about your courtship and what dating was like during the era you met can form a wonderful chapter in a memoir. Readers will be interested in learning why you were attracted to each other, how you overcame obstacles to being together and a description of your engagement and wedding. Valentine’s Day itself may come up as you reminisce about your years together.
If you have had more than one spouse or important significant other, carefully determine how much you want to share about past relationships. This decision is likely to be shaped by whether you were widowed or divorced. If you express any bitter feelings, read that section over a few times or ask someone you trust how it comes across. Again, your goal becomes important. If you want your memoirs to be a statement of your perspective on everything that has happened to you, all of your major relationships may be pertinent. People’s feelings get easily hurt, so just be careful. And Happy Valentine’s Day!