Memoirist, teacher, and author of more than one hundred blogs, Jerry Waxler, recently expanded his review of my recent memoir, Strawberry Roan, to ponder the relationship between memoir and autobiography. I’m grateful for this focus as it clarifies a major problem for me in discerning the plan of the book.
Memoir is typically containerized, my editorial advisors said. Write about the wonderful horse-filled youth, the adolescent in Shangri-La they said, or write about your successful wrestle with the harpy who lived in the liquor cabinet. You probably shouldn’t try to try to cover the thirty-seven years you lived and worked in Las Vegas, New Mexico.
I heard them. I cut up the chapters into episodes, I made timelines and arcs.
But, I mourned the loss of my material: my stories, the variety, the color.
Now Jerry Waxler has noticed. He’s proposed a variant of the classic memoir, one where the stories cover a bigger segment of the life told, from childhood through much of a career.
He calls the new hybrid category memoir-plus, recognizing it lacks the dry completeness of autobiography, and affirms the expanded personal story that “an authentic journey into the author’s quest” can be. I’m proud he used the book of my life as an example.
Thank you, Jerry, for your meticulous analysis of my memoir-plus.
I fought for it.