I was never very interested in memoir writing. Until lately. Before my fifties, I wrote a few short pieces of memoir. Most were intended to be funny. One was called “When Electricity Came to Arkansas,” about an unfortunate experience with an electric fence. Another was a short piece called “Death by Prose,” about the humorous pitfalls involved in selling stories to the Small Press. I did a different kind of piece about my Hurricane Katrina experience and its effect on my writing. That wasn’t funny. I also wrote an account about adopting my son, called “Long Strange Road to Fatherhood.” While it was accepted for publication once, in the end it never saw print.
Then, just after I turned fifty, I put together the pieces for Write With Fire and ended up adding a longish memoir about how I became a writer. It was almost 4,000 words long. For some reason, I felt it was time to tell that story and that book seemed like a good place. I don’t really know if anyone paid much attention to it, but it was fun to do.
A year or so ago I posted several pieces on my blog about my teenage experiences with beer drinking. I called them “Days of Beer.” They were favorably received and a couple of months ago I suddenly decided I was going to write up those experiences more fully and publish them as an ebook. That work is almost finished now, and it’s 18,000 words long. I couldn’t believe how much material was there to work with until I started, but I believe the thing holds together well and I think it’s pretty funny. So far, the writing group that I’ve shared about a third of it with have agreed.
In the next weeks, then, a new piece will be coming out from Razored Zen Press. I need to finish the final read through, and get the cover ready. I have an idea for that and will get Lana to take the photo. I’m using the actual names of folks in many cases, but if I feel there’s any likelihood of embarrassment I’m changing the names or just leaving them out. I’m planning on opening it at 99 cents for the holiday season. I’m also toying with titles, but am leaning toward just calling it “Days of Beer: A Memoir of a Beer Drinkin’ Man.” What do you think?
The biggest question is “why now,” though. Is there something about getting older that naturally makes one want to look back and recall your life? Or is it something that most people have when they’re younger and I am just now finding it of interest? Are you interested in memoir? In reading it? In writing it? Is it a recent thing for you? Or long-term? Do you have any idea why?