It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
In November, I had an interesting experience. For 3 consecutive Tuesdays, I conducted a 3-part seminar on the basics of writing fiction at our Jewish Community Center library. The seminar was scheduled for the middle of the day, so not surprisingly, only retired people attended. I had 2 attendees on the first 2 days (different on both days) and one woman on the last day. And everyone told me: “I liked it very much, but if it was a seminar on writing memoirs, I’d be much more interested. Schedule such a seminar and let us know. We’ll come.”
It seems, everyone wants to write their memoirs these days. Everyone but me. For sure, I can do a seminar on writing memoirs. Writing is writing, and story is story, whether fictional or real. In fact, the librarian had persuaded me into scheduling such a seminar for next spring. But why was I never tempted to write my own memoirs?
Apart from a couple of odd autobiographical essays, published in small magazines, I have never wanted to write about myself. I just don’t consider myself interesting. I’m ordinary. My fictional heroes, on the other hand, are fascinating, and their lives are full of adventures.
But that begs the question: could an ordinary person come up with extraordinary characters, characters people would root for? Or do I kid myself, and my characters are as hum-drum as I am? Or maybe the opposite is true: I’m not ordinary at all? I’m a writer, and what ordinary person would chose such an occupation? It doesn’t pay. It forces me, more often than not, to reside in places other my life and commune with people who are all figments of my imagination. It also makes me fret constantly about story structure, plot holes, dialogs, villains, etc., while my neighbors concern themselves with their home renovation projects and their children.
What do you think? Can an ordinary person be a writer? Or does it take a certain twist of the mind to become one? And if the latter is true, maybe we all should write our memoirs? Maybe they would be interesting after all? Are you considering writing your own memoirs?