Why I Don’t Write Memoir

Earlier this week, I went hunting in my closet for something from my youth (another post for another time).

I didn’t find it, but what I found stunned me.

A big box filled with my past.

There were old newspaper clippings, journals, my diary, and letters.

The topmost letter was in a hand I didn’t readily recognize. Nor did I remember the address.

As I opened it and started to read, it dawned on me who it was from — an old boyfriend from college.

One who’d broken up with me for reasons I didn’t understand then (and don’t recall now).

I read the next letter — also from him — then a poem I’d printed lamenting the demise of us.

Two thoughts immediately came to mind:

  1. Why did I save this stuff?
  2. Who else in my family had seen it?

Feelings engulfed me and once again, I was 21. A very young 21. Who thought knew she was in love.


I read his words, silly words, funny words, and I remembered his face. His eyes. How smart he was.

How good for each other I thought we were.

But he wasn’t ready to settle down. He had a career to begin, money to make, growing up of his own to do.

Sorority sisters all around me were getting pinned or engaged. Planning weddings, choosing silverware and dish patterns. Poring over Brides Magazine for gowns and attendants’ dresses, anticipating honeymoon destinations.

I thought I was missing out. Little did I realize that those things would come to me, too.

In time.

But not with that guy.

One nice thing about this Internet Age is the ability — if you’re somewhat savvy — to look up just about anybody.

To satisfy your curiosity over “What became of old xxxxx?”

I’d rather not do that. I’d rather leave him as I remember him — young of body, charming, witty, boyishly handsome, a good friend. Though nothing more.

Note: And now you all know why I don’t write memoir — it’s too painful. I admire writers like my friend Kathy who dig deep, unearth buried feelings, bring them to the surface, examine them beneath a magnifying glass, and glean something of substance from them. Something that others can learn from.

Not me. Perhaps I’m too private. Or too sensitive. But I’d much rather write suspense/mystery stories where I can “kill” people off, manipulate facts in favor of a good read, create neighborhoods and characters to my heart’s content. And entertain.

Tell me, if you’re a writer, what’s your genre of choice? If you’re a reader, what kind of stories keep you spellbound?