Memoir Muddle

I’ve been writing about myself for six years, on and off, in between writing and publishing a book on Bill Moss’ designs. I abhor it. Getting to my writing studio and sitting down to work is a raging battle with procrastination. This is not about writing. I feel the most whole when I’m writing. Except about me. The keyboard might as well be a hot griddle. I move my fingers as fast as I can to get through. To get finished. To get on with something else, a more interesting subject or a biography. My editor says to “slow down…add more detail…peel back the layers,” to which I obediently and respectfully comply. But with adversion. Writing or talking about myself is not in my nature. I would much rather hear or write other people’s stories.

Don’t most of us have a propensity to be captivated by suffering kindred spirits? So when I came upon a book titled, Why We Write About Ourselves, a compilation of personal essays by published memoirists, I ordered it immediately for next day delivery. I was certain I would find at least one writer in this group with whom I could resonate in this arduous process.   

What could be simpler to understand than the act of people writing about what they know best, their own lives? But this apparently simple act is anything but simple, for the writer becomes, in the act of writing, both the observing subject and the object of investigation, remembrance, and contemplation.
— Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson, "Reading Autobiography: A Guide for Interpreting Life Narratives"