Today I read this excerpt from Emily DePrang on her decision not to publish a memoir she’d written, even after being offered a contract. I found it here on the Brevity blog.
What stopped me was that a memoir’s quality correlates to its honesty, and my book deal would be built on a kind of lie. I would only be pretending to be at peace with my past and ready to share its lessons with the world. I’d only be acting like I thought it was okay to dish my ex’s dirt. I’d seem brave, but it would be kamikaze courage, not an earned, owned courage, not one that endures. It occurred to me that writing a memoir should be like posing nude in front of an art class for three hours, not like flashing a camera after a few tequila shots.
Here‘s another paper about not writing a memoir about someone intimate to the writer. Willa McDonald concludes that there are decisions to be made — risks to be considered. Where do responsibilities lie?
In my own work, I wonder where my responsibilities lie?