I know that I have wanted to write a memoir for years. I think I have been infatuated with the idea of telling my story before I even had one to tell. And here I am now: my life is a far cry from either typical or amazing or even terrible. Its patchwork has positioned itself solidly in limbo. And who wants to read that story? There has been a sudden influx of memoirs in the recent years. My childhood was vaguely similar to all those tales of neglectful and mentally ill parents, but since those stories have been told, where’s the need to tell it again? Where’s the interest in reading that again? Thinking my life is any more fascinating or special than what’s already written is unadulterated arrogance.
When we read biographies we are interested only in drama. And to us, that drama has only two acceptable places from which to stem: from the life of someone amazing and with whom we are already starstruck, or from someone with a past so ghastly and horrifying that their very survival is what amazes us. I fit neither of those. Even if I were to become known because of my past, I would have to do something spectacular in order to draw that attention. I am still in the midst of my young adulthood. And as my experiences prove again and again, leaving my home or my town or even my country never provided me with an escape from my problems or my mother’s mental illness.
Nobody wants to read about an unfortunate child and her unfortunate life. Not when she never finds success or well-deserved good fortune or even consistent happiness. America needs happy endings. Maybe we as humans need happy endings. In any case, mediocrity and stagnancy do not sell, even if you do use big words and a bit of charm.