Get that flashlight out of my face

August 14, 2012

Aftermath by Rachel Cusk. Is a memoir about marriage and separation. This is not a review. I haven’t read the book. It is the idea of memoir that intrigues me. Why are they so popular? They do sell. Is there a yen in this society to see the world through someone else’s eyes? With the guarantee that the facts are real. A friend of mine is or has written a book about the history of his bi-polar life. I’ve been asked to read it on several occasions. Parts are interesting. Other parts… well, they are self-absorbed. And all the other criticisms that Rachel Cusk has received for her book.

In memoirs the spotlight is on ‘me’.

I tried to write a history of my own life. I was going to call it My Struggle and then have it translated into German. I began by listing facts. I had to go to several encyclopedias. And then I started with my memories. I didn’t trust them. My oldest memory is of me in a cradle and my father leaning over the top smiling down on me. Its a fabrication. After going through several other memories I began to realize that much of my past was fiction. I compared my memories of events with my sister, mother, relatives. Nothing was in sync.

Back to me. Talking about myself. Boring. Or nothing there. Like a cloud holding up a mirror. I am here in the moment. That’s all. I realized that fiction was far more truthful. As if one had to ambush reality from behind. If you faced it head on, you changed it. People who are always talking about themselves have to keep talking. If they stop. They’ll disappear.

I’m vain. I like attention. If you ask me about myself, I’ll tell you a story. It’ll be a lie. I’m a liar. And get that flashlight out of my face.

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