Apr 3, 2015
My life has always been an open book. With Wailing Wall nearing its target publication date of late summer, 2015, that will soon be more true than ever. Since memoirs often discuss touchy topics (what fun are they otherwise?) there's a lot of talk among memoirists about how to manage you content when it involves people who would have preferred you keep the family secrets tightly under wraps.
For the most part, memoirists say that you have to tell your own truth. Talk about how you experienced certain situations from your own perspective. Okay.But some of the things I talk about in Wailing Wall includes *real* people. People that I love.
How to handle?I made a list - because that's what I do. In one column, I listed the things that the book *had* to accomplish for me to be happy with it: Honor Joshua; honor my grief process; not take two years to write. In another column, things that Wailing Wall absolutely could *not* do: be mean; talk about anything that had caused me pain involving a person to whom I had never said, "that hurt;" used as a scape goat for saying, "I'm sorry" to another human being. I confess, a lot of my first draft had to be removed after I made this list.Still, I can't help but worry that others will be hurt. To be honest, I can't imagine a good memoir could be written without a fair amount of fear in the recipe. If you aren't afraid, you're probably pulling punches with the *real* stuff that goes in to being human. Or, you've completely disregarded the humanity of others in your life. Both of these possibilities seem to lose the point of memoir in the first place.Wailing Wall is my truth. Some of it still hurts me. Some of it will hurt other people when they read it. I've done my best to take an objective view and be kind, forgiving and assume innocence for those involved. That may not be enough for everyone, and in the end, that has to be enough.