Changed the title as it seems to sum it up all up!Â This is my
fourthÂ sixth version of this post.Â Not sure that it’s better, but I keep on thinking about the subject.
Have very mixed feelings about Oprah. I had wanted her to apologize not to change how memoirs should be written. Loved her original definition: something about a persons truth at that time as perceived by the author.
Totally agree that big incidents should be fact checked? But how do you fact check a life?
Remember when Oprah first became known; her story was remarkable.Â Of course, she’s a remarkable person.Â But no person should have so much overt power.
Can she substantiate her claims that she was abused? Would it have been easier to substantiate when she was younger, more people were alive and memories were fresher?
Is she saying that she should be trusted because she’s famous and is Oprah, but different rules apply to the rest of us?
Realized that the only thing I could write a totally substantiated memoir on is the saga of my teeth–there would still be still be room for argument. And who would want to read it?Â The torrid tale of a teeth bulimic: Actually the title sounds better than the story.
Who is Oprah to pronounce a moral judgement on another person? James Frey’s crimes were against the publishing world, other writers, not criminal. Oprah’s crimes are much larger as her words carry so much weight; way too much weight. Maybe it’s time Oprah relinquish her title as Queen of America.
Â This is not to say that I agree with Frey in anyway.Â Please; “several hours” is very different than “87 days” in jail!Â
Finding out that wasn’t true made everything he said suspect.Â But how the girl killed herself isn’t relevant.Â She killed herself, that’s what is important.Â But did sheÂ exist?Â Â That too is important.Â
What Frey was doing in those 87 days is very relevant.Â Yet Oprah questioned the manner of death much more.Â I was very disappointed.
IÂ obsessively search about truth versus perceived truth. Truth is important to me, but memoirs are based on perceived truth as Oprah herself said.Â Actually she said “your truth” or “the writers truth.”
For some many years I thought Mr. Grant said to Mary Richards on the first Mary Tyler Moore show “You’re perky.”Â It was a really stupid mistake: he said “you’re spunky.”Â Mary blushed and did a Mary thingÂ
Mr. Grant: “I hate spunk.”
My boss called me perky when I announced my resignation from SSA, and for some reason, the first Mary Tyler Moore show came to mind; and I have gotten it wrong ever since until JoshÂ pointed it out; and then I cursed myself because the line would have sounded wrong with perkyÂ That’s an honest unimportant mistake; the original intent is preserved.Â But what did James Frey do during the 87 days?Â
Really don’t care asÂ I didn’t like the book when I first read it, and now care even less.
Being adopted and having been denied access to my birth records helped fuel that obsession; as did coming from a family where truth was valued above everything else.
I’m horrible at making composite characters; but isn’t that what you’re supposed to do for legal purposes?Â And to protect privacy?Â The only people I ever talk about are Lucia and Rafe, and I had them sign waivers.
I talk about my parents.Â My sister and I grew up in the same house(s) with parents named who had the same names. But in our stories they are completely different people.Â As my mother and her two sisters grew up with different mothers all named “Ceila.’.Â That’s just the way it is; people remember their parents and childhood very differently.Â Truth is perception; truth is subjective.
I was always known for having good judgement; now I find that I have always had a a condition that had to have colored my perceptions.Â And yet other people remember the stories the same way but not in so much detail.Â Maybe I had to paint a mental map of my life for myself in order to make sense of it.
Â Oprah’s one hell of a powerful woman and if she says “based on a true story….” I would prefer the simple disclaimer “some incidents are fictionalized, and some of the characters are composite.”
But maybe that’s too much also because people will read the book wondering which incidents are true or not. Am confused; hope you’re not. Let me know what you think.
Let me add; truth is always subjective; Rashamon is perhaps the most famous film to delve into how different people see the same incident.Â But that is limited to different interpretations of the same event.Â The event happened; that is not open to doubt.
Decided that Oprah isn’t the brightest person on the planet; think she’s lost touch with the regular people of this world. There were so many things she could have focused on. Why the way the girl committed suicide?
Are we going to let Oprah dictate what we read? How we think? Gawd I’m getting angrier by the second
Said last week that I think I waited to write my memoir until I had friends in responsible positions in media. Of course one is a notorious practical joker, and the thought did cross my mind that he might find it funny to deny certain things though he’s basically not in the memoir for a zillion reasons that are nobodies business but mine
Saturday update: Lucia and Rafe came over last night.Â We all laid down on my very comfortable double bed with gun metal posters and a head and foot board that exactly matches my living room radiator cover, and watched Oprah.Â Lucia couldn’t take it; she knew the exact second I couldn’t take it anymore.Â
When it became all about Oprah.Â Damn she’s about the most powerful woman in America; and she talked about how embarrassed she was?Â
No Oprah it doesn’t work that way;you mislead the public; but instead of apologizing to us, you acted as if it were all about you.
Â Well it wasn’t.Â It was about outright lies, deception, perception.Â Frey was very very culpable; but Oprah really is America’s Goddess.Â As such she is the is “the responsible adult.”
Think one of the biggest problems in our society is people not owning up to their mistakes.Â In this case it’s both Oprah and Frey.
Should Nan Talese have insisted that the book be fact checked more?Â Â Yes for such things as time served in jail; objective things that can be verified.
Â But even there problems could happen.Â Once interviewed somebody at a hotel restaurant; only my editor knew what I looked like;the fact checker said that it couldn’t be verified that I was there.Â Actually it could have been easily, as the person that I was interviewing was well known to the restaurant and hotel staff.Â I was the only woman talking to him; my name was with the maitre-de.Â
Never had faith in the fact checker after that.Â A fact checker is supposed to be able to ask questions.Â People make fun of fact checkers; oh right they attribute Asperger like attributes to them.Â No person who worked with me would think of me as a dowdy fact checker.Â Quite the opposite; I was always one of the fun people.Â I was perky and vivacious; I was fun.Â Nobody knew I went home to a disordered life, and hated myself.Â Did always think that my life would become easier as time went on.Â I believed in myself and I don’t want to let that girl down now.
It angers me as if I wanted to do the “easy job” on my memoir; I could have sexed it up by making other peoples experiences mine; I could talk more about things that happened to other people.Â While I played a big part in some of these stories I don’t own them;they’re not mine, and I’m not going to write things just to get published.Â No, I don’t tell other peoples secrets even if I played a pivotal role in the story.
I agonize over making somethings that really did happen to me and sound unbelievable, more believable.Â Somethings I just discard, though they really happened and helped shape the adult me, they’re too strange and I don’t know if IÂ could get people to verify these incidents as the people are no longer in my life.Â And yes, I agonized over this long before the Oprah debacle.Â
Would you want to pitch a memoir in this climate?Â Should I give up on a dream because Oprah was embarrassed?Â I know I should have written this years ago when I was young, my parents were alive, my records were still at NYU Medical Center.Â But sometimes we have to defer a dream.Â
Keep coming back to how embarrassed Oprah was.Â If Oprah’s embarrassed, the publishing industry quivers; but maybe there will be a back lash.
OrÂ the memoir genre will now belong to the already famous and to the very young.Â Some people might say that’s natural; that the world does belong to the young and to the rich.
Won’t touch the Letterman/Oprah love fest; saw a promo, decided not to DVR it as I love Letterman and didn’t want to see him pandering to her.Â I think the Countess; Lucia’s sister, who is an even bigger Letterman fan than I might have things to say about that.Â Know how disapointed she was in Oprah–read her comment on the Oprah site–blew me away.
Â Anna of BIO and Pixel Forte has done an amazing job on giving CourtingÂ a fresh look; now I have to get the pages and other stuff together.Â Will take awhile as I found bargain basement prices for a new desktop–19 inch LCD monitor for cheap, very cheap.Â WhatÂ does that have to do with my putting old posts into categories and pages?Â My eyes can’t wait for a 19 inch screen.Â
My eyes need a break from the wonderful 14 inch laptop.Â We love her; but she needs a long rest!
Am going to change categories and make pages so that all the “Zachary stories” are together; for one example.Â So please bare with me as I slowly make Courting as user friendly as possible.