Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Memoirs of a Jersey Girl

Revisiting the NaBloPoMo theme of "want," I want someday to be able to write a memoir that isn't considered to be a cure for insomnia.

Here's why:
As you know, I am a big fan of CBS Sunday morning. I've learned a boatload of interesting facts and other assorted tidbits each time I drag myself out of bed on Sunday morning to tune in at 9:00.

The show that ran a week ago Sunday featured a segment on Running with Scissors author Augusten Burroughs. I'll admit I am not normally drawn to the memoir genre. I have never read any of his books. You may be wondering what qualifies me to write about this topic for my blog then. Well, nothing.

But, I'm going to write it anyway. What I found most interesting in Burroughs' interview with Erin Moriarity (love her as an interviewer by the way), was when she tried to pin him down as to whether any of the material in his memoir had been embellished. He vehemently denied doing so, despite a lawsuit that was settled out of court. But, when it came to the topic of his most recent book about his father: A Wolf at the Table (sounds like touching coming of age story), a clip is played from the audio book in which he describes running through the woods with his father chasing after him. He is breathless, fearful to stop and encounter his father. Burroughs admitted to Erin that he wasn't sure if the scene actually happened but that if it did this is how he would imagine it happening. He went on to insist that this was a true memoir. Alrighty then.

As a woman who grew up middle class in the suburbs of New Jersey, I have often lamented that there is nothing gritty in my background to warrant my writing a memoir. Dull, dull and more dull. However, it seems that there are no longer any boundaries between memoir and fiction. Even the story of a girl raised in the Jersey suburbs can be made to sound beguiling.

Add in some sensationalized episodes involving "Gelts" and the like, and I may have a bestseller on my hands!


Mark said...

And here I thought the only good things in Jersey were the Subs at the White House in AC, Black & White Cookies, the Rippers from Rutt's Hutt and the Hamburgers from White Manna and now you're telling me that Bruce was singing the song, Jersey Girl to you?

Blue State Cowgirl said...

I always love the way Mark Twain handled the whole "truth versus warped memory" issue in Huckleberry Finn, which was fiction but was presented as a first person memoir. Twain had his fictional character write the forward and say, "Most of it were true, but some of it were stretched."

However, I would call foul on the CheeseBalls. Did they really have those in New Jersey when you were growing up?

A Woman Of No Importance said...

What is it about us all, Carma, that we all think our lives are dull when they are far from it - Occasionally I read something that makes me think that we here are far more luminous and witty than we give ourselves due credit for!

And, let's face it, who else could carry off wearing cheeseballs on a book-cover quite as well as you, dear?!

carma said...

You got it!

Blue State-
The Memoir will be covering my lifetime including the present Cheeseball phase, so it is ligit to include the balls on the cover.

Woman of No Importance-
I sure hope that is correct. I'd love to be seen as "luminous and witty" then I could brag ;-)

Mark said...

I'm perplexed by the proper spelling of Joisey....

Crazy Raincloud said...

i love the book cover carma :P

dallasdiva said...

I say that a memoir without embellishment is a memoir not getting published so embellish the chit out of it!!

carma said...

Crazy Raincloud-
Thanks :-)

ha ha. Love it! Believe me, if I was ever to take this challenge on, it would need beaucoup embellishment in order not to pass as a sleep aid!

Sandra said...

Actually, I did not know that you're a big fan of CBS Sunday Morning. It is truly my favorite show. Growing up, I watched it many times with my dad. Sometimes it seemed like something to endure, but we're already making our 3yo "endure" it.

Yet another reason I like you!

carma said...

I make sure to drag myself out of bed every Sunday before 9:00 so I don't miss anything. The stories are often unusual and it really keeps me enthralled while on the elliptical :D
Glad to meet a fellow fan!
And you are already raising the next generation of Sunday Morning viewers I see!

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