I’m writing a rare Thursday blog because I have a rare purpose. I need your help.
As many of you know, I’m not exactly a published author. I write not for money, but for the cheap thrills and even cheaper therapy it brings. Or, as Bleeding Gums Murphy said in “The Simpsons”,
The blues isn’t about makin’ yo’self feel better, it’s about makin’ ever’one else feel worse. And makin’ a few bucks while yer at it.
Granted, this is nothing but a cheap parody of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” by the great August Wilson. But it highlights something I’ve been thinking about lately, which is cutting out the cheap therapy and going right to a full confession. I’m thinking about writing a memoir.
Like many of my ideas, it started out with a simple declaration that I’d never do it. One of the many writer-infested sites I visit had a discussion of memoirs, and I testified before the internet and all of creation that I’d never do it. The problem I pointed out was a simple one: memoirs suck. There’s no central theme unless you contrive the Hell out of one, and rarely any reasonable point. Someone has to have a damned interesting life to string along something that’s worth the time to read it.
Fate has a way of playing games with me, which leaves me to wonder what the Hell I ever did to fate. (Perhaps if I wrote this memoir you’d understand how ironic that statement is). So naturally I found myself sitting down with people and telling what I call “Bar Stories”, or disjointed and bizarre tales from my childhood just south of Miami in the 1970s and 80s.
When discussing the possibility that these might actually be stories that everyone wants to hear with my partner in life, Cristy, a strange thought occurred to me. In a post-modern sort of world, where Frank Gehry twists stainless steel into a cutup beercan of a building just because he can, perhaps a meandering story without a theme makes a point in and of itself. After all, I’ve already said that things don’t have to make sense in the world. What better way to show it than twisting together things that have the advantage of being true, even if they may not be real, in a way that makes them appear as though they make sense even if they don’t?
That might be getting ahead of things. Let’s get back to basics.
I need to ask all of you for help:
1) Deciding if memoirs can actually be good
2) Finding some examples of key elements and devices that make a memoir work, and
3) Naming memoirs that were compelling and really said something to you.
Send your suggestions to wabbitoid47 at yahoo.com and I promise you I’ll take them very seriously. Thank you for your help.
If that’s not enough to decide, meaning that you want to know what this story’s “got”, here is a partial list of what might be in this memoir, under the working title “White Boy”:
A walled off Garden of Eden
Three South American dictators
One famous author
Sailing to Key Largo
A CIA agent (and stories about how they sell drugs)
A riot that burns a major US city for 3 days
A trip to Bimini for lunch
Ludwig van Beethoven
A drug dealer who has the corner across from Cutler Ridge Junior High
Dozens and dozens of dead bodies
A private citrus plantation
Cold war missile installations
A massive waterfowl die off from Avian Flu
Cuban-Americans training for Bay of Pigs II
Guest shots on “Miami Vice” (well, my car, at least)
Court ordered desegregation
The KKK (and interracial dating)
… and of course, young love
(I’m not entirely cynical, you know …)
Please, if you have any ideas or want to talk me into this or out of it, send me mail. I love getting mail! wabbitoid47 at yahoo.com