Who we are in memoir?

I am pondering who we are and want to be in memoir.

Maybe we have no choice.  But writing takes time and revision and so, in fact, we always do.

Reading Joan Didion’s BLUE NIGHTS made me sad:  for her daughter, for sure, but also for Didion herself, who has not entered old age with resilience or any care for wisdom. She’s frail, she tells us again and again.  But she’s also Joan Didion and a killer writer still, though she claims not and relies more than may be wise on the repetition of key phrases.  All through the book — a book about her daughter’s death — you keep wondering, what happened?  What several things (for there seem to be several things) went wrong?  It’s not that kind of memoir.  Didion will not go there.

Francisco Goldman’s SAY HER NAME, which I thought wonderful and gripping, sent me on this memoir binge.

As well, of course, as my own writing.  I am processing.  I’ll say more.  Recent ones I’m missing?