Last night, I saw New York Times writer William Grimes’ essay in the Critic’s Notebook column on the phenomenon of the memoir pop up in my NYT feed. He writes, “The memoir has been on the march for more than a decade now. … But the genre has become so inclusive that it’s almost impossible to imagine which life experiences do not qualify as memoir material.”
As a blogger, I understand the attraction to writing memoirs. If given the chance, I could wax on about myself, my memories, and my revelations for quite some time. The nice thing about memoirs is that they don’t require much research or imagination. You were there – you know what happened. Of course, this means that it would be very easy to assume that anyone could write a memoir. While this is true, it does not also equate that anyone can write a good memoir, which goes for bloggers, as well. Grimes does not come out and explicitly state this in his essay, but the tone could imply it.
Grimes concludes with the thought that this propensity for penning memoirs might be a part of our humanity. He writes,
“John Eakin, an emeritus professor of English at Indiana University, has argued that human beings continuously engage in a process of self-creation and self-discovery by constructing autobiographical narratives. In a sense, we are the stories – multiple, shifting and constantly evolving – that we weave about ourselves, and this storytelling urge may even be hard-wired.”
Perhaps it is our super-ego and id fighting to dominate that causes us to want to share our life stories in a public setting? Ah, I never cared much for Freud, anyway.