A memoir forces me to stop and remember carefully. It is an exercise in truth. In a memoir, I look at myself, my life, and the people I love the most in the mirror of the blank screen. In a memoir, feelings are more important than facts, and to write honestly, I have to confront my demons.
Going from memoir to fiction was fantastic. I had been afraid to move away from memoir; I'd written some novel drafts, but they weren't well received by my agent at the time, and it had been drilled into me that "memoir outsells fiction two to one" (not sure if that's true anymore, or if it ever was), so I felt like the only smart thing to do, professionally, was to keep mining my life for painful moments to recapitulate.
Memoir writing draws on all aspects of who we are, body, mind and soul. We are challenged to dig deep, to remember, and once again inhabit the skin of who we were and what we have learned. Writing memoir is an act of testimony, witnessing, healing. When you write a memoir, you draw upon layers of your consciousness and discover your true nature, your essential self, and are transformed the process.' Linda Joy Meyer
The memoir industry is, what's the word? Under regulated. I think it needs to be pruned. If there are too many books right now and the market for readers is shrinking, I think we can get rid of many of the memoirs. Another memoir should be awfully well justified before it gets published.
Novels are completed when they are finished, but the memoir changes its own conclusion by virtue of being written... I was not at all the same person, when I handed the manuscript to the publisher, as I had been when I began. A memoir may always be retrospective, but the past is not where its action takes place.
After I wrote my memoir, 'A Long Way Gone,' I was a bit exhausted. I didn't want to write another memoir; I felt that it might not be sane for one to speak about himself for many, many, many years in a row. At the same time, I felt the story of 'Radiance of Tomorrow' pulling at me because of the first book.
I happened upon a memoir by a midlevel White House staffer, and he had been in the room that [Nixon's last] night [in office]. This guy's memoir told me what Nixon's last words were. And they were, on August 8, 1974, to the crew: "Have a Merry Christmas, fellas!" That was just so bizarre.
A fine memoir is to a fine novel as a well-wrought blanket is to a fancifully embroidered patchwork quilt. The memoir, a logical creation, dissects and dignifies reality. Fiction, wholly extravagant, magnifies it and gives it moral shape. Fiction has no practical purpose. Fiction, after all, is art.
One last characteristic of the memoir that is important to recognize is one which also applies to essays, and which Georg Lukacs described as "the process of judging." This may seem problematic to some, since... we connect it with 'judgmental, ' often used nowadays as a derogatory word. But the kind of judgment necessary to the good personal essay, or to the memoir, is not that nasty tendency to oversimplify and dismiss other people out of hand but rather the willingness to form and express complex opinions, both positive and negative. If the charm of memoir is that we, the readers, see the author struggling to understand her past, then we must also see the author trying out opinions she may later shoot down, only to try out others as she takes a position about the meaning of her story. The memoirist need not necessarily know what she thinks about her subject but she must be trying to find out; she may never arrive at a definitive verdict, but she must be willing to share her intellectual and emotional quest for answers. Without this attempt to make a judgment, the voice lacks interest, the stories, becalmed in the doldrums of neutrality, become neither fiction nor memoir, and the reader loses respect for the writer who claims the privilege of being the hero in her own story without meeting her responsibility to pursue meaning. Self revelation without analysis or understanding becomes merely an embarrassment to both reader and writer.
Memoir is trustworthy and its truth assured when it seeks the relation of self to time, the piecing of the shards of personal experience into the starscape of history's night. The materials of memoir are humble, fugitive, a cottage knitting industry seeking narrative truth across the crevasse of time as autobiography folds itself into the vast, fluid essay that is history. A single voice singing its aria in a corner of the crowded world.
I don't think you can take a whole genre of very popular books and say, "This is all trash!" When we read a memoir that isn't by a celebrity, we feel like we're about to go on a journey and we don't know where the journey will lead. But when we read a memoir by a celebrity we feel like we already know the journey and we just want to travel it.
Membaca autobiografi atau memoir seolah-olah terlibat dalam dialog dengan narator yang menjadi jurucakap pengarang: mendengar secara langsung cerita serta pendapat tentang zamannya dengan gaya pengucapan peribadinya. Gaya bahasa dan idiosinkrasi penampilannya menghantar karyanya mirip cereka, tetapi fakta dan kebenaran subjeknya akan menyeretnya menjadi mirip sejarah, dan hakikat inilah yang berkemungkinan melahirkan memoir sebagai wacana intelektual yang artistik; menggugah dan tidak menjemukan.
Baharuddin Zainal (Baha Zain)