I would like to write about my own life. A few years ago I got the idea of trying to write a memoir and spent some time thinking about what would be involved in doing that. I decided it would be too difficult, partly because there are some aspects of my life, especially my early life, that I would rather not write about but mainly because my life as a whole seems disjointed and disconnected to me. It is hard to find a narrative thread that would tie it together in a meaningful way, and furthermore there’s much that I simply don’t remember very well (I think that if a narrative were to be written about my whole life an appropriate title would be What the Fuck, or maybe The Disorientation Chronicles).

It occurred to me that maybe a better way of handling it would be to make it a collection of short personal essays, each of which would be essentially self-contained, instead of trying to force some kind of coherent overall narrative, which from my point of view would be rather artificial and gratutious, on it.  I see many of these little essays or personal stories as being quite short, succinct, and tightly focused.  So that is what I’m working on.  I’m not too far along on it yet but I hope to self-publish the book sometime in 2015.

When a friend of mine asked what I was working on and I told her that I’d begun working on a book of autobiographical essays, she seemed skeptical.  I think she tried to tactfully suggest that a book that would be just about my own experience would not necessarily be of interest to anyone else.  A fair point, one which I’ve thought a great deal about.  I don’t think it is necessarily the case that a writer writing about her/his own experience is indulging in a narcissistic exercise.  In fact often in the course of my reading I’ve found that the experience of one particular writer, expressed with skill and honesty, can provide a lot of insight into the general human condition.  It seems that the deeper we penetrate into the underlying psychological layers of our own experience, the closer we get to the mysterious spiritual core of human life that we all share.  Let’s face it, as different as we all are, we all are challenged with trying to find ways to liberate ourselves from all the bullshit we grew up with, how to create meaning in our lives, how to navigate our way through the not-very-humane culture in which we live, and to find some core of authenticity and integrity in the middle of the chaos that is ordinary life.  This is why there will always be people telling stories about their own experience, and why other people will be interested in those stories.

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