I might just be the worst candidate to ever write a memoir. After all, a clear pre-requisite for writing a memoir is having a decent memory. And this I don’t have.
My memory is odd. I have a really good sense of the people who I have known: their personalities, their positive attributes, and where they fit socially with other people who I have known. But I have a really terrible episodic memory, and that means that I often can’t place people within the context of events. I have very frequently made the mistake of starting to tell a “really great story” to someone who was actually a forgotten part of the episode that I was only partially translating into a story. My lack of accurate episodic memory can — and has — led to some really embarrassing moments!
I think that it is generally accepted that memoir, as a genre, is not about historical accuracy. It is telling how people remember things, even when that memory is very much divorced from the reality that actually transpired. But what disturbs me about my own poor memory is this very production of error: what does it tell me about myself? To really answer that question, I kind of need to have some reference point: what really happened, and why don’t I remember it correctly?
And here’s where you can help: if you read anything here that you know if just off, feel free to leave a comment letting me know! Other people can help me create a collective memory that far exceeds the value of my own very weak individual memory.