Why I Wrote a Memoir

I never know exactly what will be discussed before any given podcast unfolds. That is because Jordan Rich poses the questions, and I answer spontaneously. Part Two of my memoir is entitled, “Why I wrote This Memoir: Friendship, Maturation, and Inquisitiveness.” It is a rather academic answer to that question, which I surmised Jordan would follow. He didn’t. So whatever came out, came out differently. Jordan’s comments and questions brought out that writing the memoir was a voyage of discovery in itself. Friends had said to me that I had led an interesting life, that I ought to write a memoir. I didn’t take that too seriously. I’d done a few things, nothing remarkable, I thought. I started it in a rather desultory manner. Then Covid came along. With time on my hands, I thought I’d give it a shot. Lots of my writings are autobiographical, so I strung them together. My capable formatter, Susan Worst, pointedly said, “Larry, this is an anthology, not a memoir.” So lazy Larry got to work in earnest, writing original material plumbing the labyrinthine caverns and crevices of my ninety year old memory. And you know what? I discovered that I had indeed lived an interesting life, albeit interesting mainly because with my limited authorial talent I could bring ordinary incidents to life, giving them meaning for me and others from which to learn. You have already heard about several such instances in previous podcasts. How I communed with the late Miss Marguerite Greenshields, whom I hadn’t seen since she was my Housemaster in high school, for example. A transformative and other worldly experience which I related in that mood! Or recently in the podcast on acting when I found new meaning about acting and life from attending Shakespeare’s poetry more closely. Or when Jordan described me as a Renaissance Man because of my many interests, including education, history, politics, music, baseball, whatever, which caused me to view myself as moving slightly away from my previous view of myself as a dilettante. Not much, but some. Or when the modest Jordan asked if I considered myself a little “edgy?” And hearing myself answer that, “Yes I think so. But I am because I always want to be true to myself. I’m lucky now at this age not to be hurt easily, and unafraid to put myself on the line.” Wise man Jordan then asked whether it was hard for me to write negatives about myself, to which I blurted out, “I have no shame.” These late coming experiences coming as part of writing the memoir, or growing from it, like podcasting, have educated me about my own persona, and equipped me to relate my life meaningfully to others, warts and all. As you will hear me say to Jordan, no one is interested in a memoir by a famous person if the warts are not revealed,  but many will be interested in one by an ordinary person if he or she tells the truth, most especially if the telling is done with reasonable skill. Add to that all the noteworthy people I’ve been fortunate to meet, write about, and befriend, and you have a book which may win some favor. Indeed, friendship, maturation, and inquisitiveness!

People – Always People