Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Memoir Problem.

I've been reading on in the debacle that is PublishAmerica. Something in my nature likes reading disaster stories. I have books about plane crashes. I have a bookmarks file of medical blogs, and when the doctors' stories do not fulfill, I browse for patients' blogs. And now this, PublishAmerica, and the stories of innocent writers' dreams destroyed. Google your publisher, o writers. Googling can prevent neither plane disasters nor cancer (under ordinary circumstances). But walking uninformed into the embrace of PublishAmerica is an avoidable tragedy.

Is that part of the pleasure? Because the victim can be blamed? Does this make me a better American, despite my appalling lack of debt? We do like blaming the victim, don't we? "If only he'd taken the earlier flight (lazy)." "If only she'd eaten more fiber (reckless)."

The writer whose tale of woe I just read had written a memoir. The poor writer discovered that PA was incapable of placing her memoir in the bookstores in her hometown. And then it occurred to me: if you want your memoir, with your name on it, to be available to everyone you know, how interesting can that memoir be? Seriously, unless you're a lunatic or care not one bit for what anyone thinks of you, your memoir is either (a) a lie, or (b) boring.

I'm sure there are many of us who have thought of that posthumous memoir, that last blog entry that will post just as we walk off the end of the pier. That's the book I want to read.

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