Open Blog Weekend: Thanks for the Memories
I’m a really lucky guy in a very privileged position. Since 2011 I’ve managed to lie, cheat and steal my way into writing gigs, as a reviewer you understand, talentless hacks such as I don’t produce quality books, and one of my master strokes of cunning was fooling the team here at Self Publisher’s Showcase that I can spout opinion and spell it correctly. In my nearly two years here with these brilliant people I have read erotica, poetry, short and flash fiction, twitterature, science fiction, horror, fantasy, sports… well, you get the idea. Apart from erotica in the list above I used to buy titles in all the other genres, as I’m a reader with no loyalty to one particular theme, however one type of book I have grown to love, thanks exclusively to SPS, is the memoir.
There’s an old adage that everyone has at least one book in them and I scoffed every time I heard it. I’ve tried creative writing! It’s bloody hard and highly unrewarding nearly all of the time, well that’s my experience of it anyway, and my admiration for all author types is higher than ever. When you break down and actually analyse a memoir though, the adage is in fact true as everyone has had a life. Everyone has experience of love and loss, happiness and tragedy. You may have been in, or related to someone in, the armed forces, perhaps disability and illness has been a blight on your existence. You may have lived in a far flung place that inspired a change in lifestyle, you may just be a drunk with funny stories and bad jokes, the fact is that, once you learn to string a sentence together, you already have a wealth of knowledge you can put on the page. Of all the memoirs, diaries and autobiographical material I have read as part of my time here I have found they all have something in common – your life is far more entertaining to me than my own.
I used to read political and historical memoirs for education purposes and never once did I think ‘I wonder what an everyday Joe’s life would be like in a book?’ and I’m pretty sure most casual readers in a relationship with fiction or fame would never have had such a premise enter their mind. However, the world is a very small and overcrowded place these days. Social networking has brought down borders and distance and we converse with folk we’d never have dreamt of talking to even twenty years ago, so why not read a journal? Why not take time out to learn more about regular people? I promise you their lives are far more fascinating than any so called celebrity and their ability to entertain is not restricted by the weight of expectation placed on them by an agent or a studio or a sports team. I don’t play favourites here at SPS and it’s not my place to tell you where you should start if you want to take the journey I have been on. Just find the section, which I’m sure the esteemed editorial team at SPS will insert for my lazy self, pick a title and read.
Caution – you may learn something about other people but you will also definitely learn something about yourself.