Monday, 1 December 2008
One of my favourite movies (I should get the book) is Big Fish, a story about a son who has issues with his father's tall tales. He couldn't take his dad seriously throughout life, and near the end finds out the true value of a good storyteller, whether the stories are exaggerated or not.
Memoir writers draw from their own experiences to write their books. Maybe they keep journals, or some might have superior memories. Some of them have great stories to tell, like John Elder Robison's Look Me In The Eye. Others exaggerate and pass off their lies as truth.
Not all of us have spectacular lives to draw from, so we use our memories as building blocks to create fiction. A memoir can be a simple account of an interesting life, or jazzed up with dialogue and incredible detail.
How accurate can we possibly be if we are writing a memoir? While some authors can recall past experiences with crystal clarity, I have a hard time remembering what I ate for dinner last night. I guess that's why I'd rather use mere snapshots of my life as a resource for my fiction. That way, I can embellish to my heart's content. Within reason, of course.
How big is your fish?
Image: Ridley likes fishing shows and hockey.