For my Fellow “Memoirists”

“I moved on to the memoir section.  After browsing for a while, I knew why it had to be so big: who knew there was so much truth to be told, so much advice to give, so many lessons to teach and learn?  Who knew that there were so many people with so many necessary things to say about themselves?  I flipped through the sexual abuse memoirs, sexual conquest memoirs, sexual inadequacy memoirs, alternative sexual memoirs.  I perused travel memoirs, ghostwritten professional athlete memoirs, remorseful hedonist rock star memoirs, twelve-step memoirs, memoirs about reading (A Reading Life: Book by Book).  There were five memoirs by one author, a woman who had written a memoir about her troubled relationship with her famous fiction-writer father; a memoir about her troubled relationship with her mother; a memoir about her troubled relationship with her children; a memoir about her troubled relationship with the bottle; and finally a memoir about her more loving relationship with herself.  There were several memoirs about the difficulty of writing memoirs, and even a handful of how-to-write-a-memoir memoirs.  A Memoirist’s Guide to Writing Your Memoir and the like.  All of these made me feel better about myself, and I was grateful to the books for teaching me–without my even having to read them–that there were people in the world more desperate, more self-absorbed, more boring than I was.”

– BROCK CLARKE, An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England, 2007

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