Posts Tagged memoir

Recycling the Writing of Reality

During the process of migrating from Blogger to WordPress I lost a few early posts. For some unknown reason they didn’t transfer and since nobody ever read them it seemed a shame they got abandoned down in Google’s basement. I’ve resurrected them here just for you. Sweet!

Fresh from the compost heap:

Recently I’ve run into several people who are writing memoir. I have nothing against a good life story, but find myself a bit skeptical about the value for most readers. I’m jaded enough to enjoy the mishaps that befall the unwary, but I don’t want to read about a lifetime of such events.

This brought to mind the challenge of writing about real life. I had an experience a couple of months ago that falls into this arena because if I read it in a story I’d sneer, make a snide comment and skip on to the next bit of dialogue. But it really happened.

You’re thinking, so what? Exactly my point. Just because something happens doesn’t mean you can get away with using it in fiction. Here is a quick synopsis of my train journey that was so WTF? – I think it’s worth sharing.

The scene opened with an intriguingly tattooed man and a lot of time to edit my current novel. The middle of the story was rife with exciting events involving torrential rains, volatile winds, fallen trees, broken windows, conflict between passengers, and a lot of alcohol consumption while the train sat stranded in a mountain pass. The end was expectedly twisty with our abscondment (I’m coining that word now), of the relief engineer from the southbound train, a clever deaf boy, a landslide at the stateline, and a denouement come full circle via Greyhound bus. We arrived only 7 hours behind schedule.

The trip was surreal enough to be fabricated, which is where that whole truth-is-stranger-than-fiction thing figures into the equation. I don’t know why other folks never have such experiences. Obviously some of them do because I was not alone on the Coast Starlight.

….but I was perhaps the only one having a really good time.