May 9, 2010

It’s always dicey to write nonfiction about people you know, especially memoir. Your truth may not be the same as theirs and if you’re navigating around relationships you’d like to keep, decisions must be made.

I had lunch Saturday with a playwright I know. She’s a hugely experienced and talented writer and I wanted her input.

We were puzzling out what to do with a personal essay I’m writing and the subject of how much to tell and how much to leave out came up.

She advised that it was always wise to leave out very personal or painful things that could hurt family or friends. (Although she admitted she has not always followed this to the letter.)

Yesterday I dropped by the library to pick up a new memoir I’d put on hold. It’s about a marriage, and since I’ve got a related topic, I was interested to see how the book was structured and written.

Avidly reading the introduction, I was stopped dead by this on page three, husband talking about wife, and I quote:

“…but at the end of the day, instead of hugging or shaking hands good-bye, as I do with all my other ‘best friends,’ I prefer that Annabelle sit on my face.”

Well, that’s one way to handle it.

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