icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

A Writer's Jottings

When Writing About Others

Perhaps the most problematic part about writing a memoir is writing about others, dead and alive. Especially alive.


What to do? You can drop names and change names. You can express yourself extremely carefully. You can be absolutely sure of your facts. You can get liability insurance.


The problem is usually more daunting at the beginning than at the end of writing a memoir.

What I and other memoirists often discover while working on draft after draft is that anger gradually softens through more insight and turns into something else. Like compassion.


With warm regards,


I spotted this cartoon -- a little yellowed and faded from being on my bulletin board -- in The New Yorker a year or so ago.  It expresses the fear that friends and family may feel when someone announces they're writing a memoir. Happily, my husband Robert was never worried.


Post a comment