Writing a memoir? Get over yourself, says Neil Genzlinger

This unapologetic critique of memoir is a good splash of cold water for those mired in writing the mundanity of their lives.  I do worry that Genzlinger will unwittingly dissuade those who write out of therapeutic, social, or spiritual need.  To be clear, he argues against publishing bad memoirs.  No harm in writing them.

Hidden in his rant are a few gems about what does make a good memoir.  Situate one’s persona comfortably.  Choose a subject or a story of interest beyond your own.  Tell a universal tale with intimacy, but avoid cloying details.

The overshare that vexes Genzlinger is undoubtedly tied to the explosion of personal content made possible by expressive technologies.   In that I see an answer to his frustration.  As more of us write our lives into Facebook, e-readers, and blogs, perhaps the hardbound book will once again be reserved for the most artful take.


About Anne L'Ecuyer

Anne is a strategist, facilitator and consultant who stays closely connected to an international network of city leaders, cultural professionals, and individual artists. She is an expert in the creative industries and cultural tourism in the United States, as well as the contributions of the arts toward educational, social, and environmental goals.
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