I don’t feel like meme’ng today and couldn’t find anything worth the effort of stealing for that purpose anyway. Today I want to hear from you, my gentle readers.
I am rewriting the first chapter of my memoir. I have the chance to pitch it to an agent who represents a friend of mine and I need at minimum the first three chapters written and polished. I am going to write some version of a recent post on Will’s last months in hospice. And I just want to say, I appreciate those of you who took the time to comment and offer your take on my disclosure dilemma.
Whenever I question writing and trying to publish the memoir, I hear from people who say “Write it. I want to read it.” but they never really say why or what it is they think I will be writing about that intrigues them sight unseen.
Rob is semi-busily composing his chapter in his head. His first months after Shelley died, I think. But as he pointed out, our lives have been intersected only a short time in comparison to the length of our lives overall and certainly our first marriages. What makes our story worth knowing? Worth the time it would take to read?
I remember a snarky comment – not here – that I read directed at Rob and I shortly after we married that went something like,
“I don’t need to hear about relationships and marriage from two people who’ve been widowed less than a year and been dating and then remarried for about a total of two minutes.”
And though I think that sometimes “seat time” is important, it does not necessarily make one an expert either. I have run across more than a few widowed people who believe that it is years out that gives when insight and the moral authority to speak to the generalities and larger truths of surviving a spouse, and yet some of the widows I most admire for their choices, compassion and wisdom aren’t even as far along in the journey as I am.
And anyway, my experience is atypical in terms of circumstances and the order in which I went through things, so I don’t see it as modeling for anyone.
At the conference I attended in May, I had a chance to sit with a publisher from South Africa and I quizzed her on the marketability of memoir. She said that from a personal standpoint the reason people read them baffled her. She found books on surviving tragedy more depressing than uplifting and a little bit voyeuristic, not in a good way.
I suppose I have things to say in terms of dating after spouse loss, remarriage, family blending. I hesitate to get all “how to” though. I prefer the facts and how it played out personally with people taking or leaving it as they will.
So, here I ask again, what would you want to know – bearing in mind that I am as likely to really tell you as not – in terms of my memoir. Don’t be shy. But don’t be a snark either.