I always dreamt that whatever I did, I would write a book of some kind. Whether just a memoir or a real work of art, I always believed I’d write (assuming, of course, I do something worth writing about). I just assumed it.
I wonder, though, what worth memoirs really have. Anyone can write a memoir nowadays. Take, for example, Time Magazine columnist Joel Stein’s parody of Sarah Palin’s book: Going Rogue (oh and, Joel Stein is my all-time favorite Time writer. His column is called The Awesome Column. What’s not to love?). There are people, like the one featured in the article, who make their living on writing about other people’s lives. People pump out the memoirs like crazy.
I wonder at people’s motivations for writing memoirs. Is it narcissism? I am not speaking of those whose memoirs are legitimately interesting, of historical significance, or written with a specific purpose in mind. I am nevertheless sure that most memoirs out there aren’t really that memorable.
It seems I’m being disdainful, but I legitimately wonder what role a memoir can serve. Perhaps a touching story may inspire someone. I know many politicians write memoirs for the publicity and name recognition. I see no other reason why famous people get to write books about themselves when I already feel like I know too much about their lives.
I propose, then, that almost all memoirs are worthless, since they seem not to serve a purpose other than boosting the ego of the “author” (because we all know ghostwriters do the actual writing).
Yes? No? Am I too harsh?