I Don’t Want to Write an Autobiography
Many years ago, I met a friend of my sister’s who stood out as a creative individual. At that time, he attended college to attain his music degree.
During our conversation, I learned his college had a large film department and he knew many of these students. He remarked that all film students had the same goal; they wanted to make a movie about their life. They proudly gave him copies of their scripts (with the hope that he would provide the music for free) and he thought they were all boring, depressing and certainly not worthy of perusing. That thought has rattled around in the back of my mind for years.
After I published my first book, I began interacting with writers through the Facebook group Writers helping writers. In reading their posts, I understood that authors grew their characters from the people they knew and created their plots from events in their life.
As an example, in my upcoming book Pushed To the Edge of Survival, the main character is an Electrical Engineer. That’s me in disguise. Correct? While we share many similarities, the character is not based on me. In retrospect, I should have done a better job of distancing this character and I concede that I made a rookie mistake. One could argue that this character is autobiographical or a glimpse into my fantasy life. Big rookie mistake…
Would I like to write an autobiography to share the details of my life? So far, my life has not been noteworthy. However, I certainly have enough experiences to fill a book. Plus, I have the ability to capture my story and it would be fun to interview my family.
Billy Crystal’s did a wonderful job of capturing his life in the book 700 Sundays. Of course, I’m not a famous comedian, but am sure I could come up with something great. However, I certainly have no desire to share my life’s story. I didn’t even want to create the “about the author” page on Amazon.
Where is this negativity coming from? The core of my aversion resides in the fact that I’m a private person. What about my posts to Facebook? I obtained an account to promote my book and I don’t post many pictures or update my status often.
As an example, three weeks ago, I took my daughter shooting for the first time. She did well and I’m proud of her. However, I would never publicly describe this positive event on Facebook. Hey, everybody! My daughter is a great shot!
In, truth, that small statement took great effort to write and I certainly have no desire to post pictures of the event. I prefer to keep my private life private. What about a negative or tragic events in my life? On that same trip, my truck became stuck in the sand. The short version of this event is that everything worked out well. However, there were negative details that I do not wish to share. Why? It’s hard to write “Hey world, I failed. Here are my bad decisions and sad feelings. Please send some love my way.”
Why not discuss my failures? People learn more from failures than successes. Am I afraid of everybody laughing at me or analyzing my mistakes? That’s one part of it. If asked I would answer, “Getting stuck in the sand is my heartbreaking moment. Not yours. This is my tragedy and I will deal with it in my own way.” This reads like a line from the book Men are From Mars, Woman are From Venus. Very true.
Like most men, I prefer to internalize my failures and have no desire to publicly explore them. I consider lamenting on past negativity to be detrimental to my success. I also feel that this effort would turn me into a negative person and my life contains enough difficulties without intentionally focusing on my failures.
I also don’t think my accomplishments are not noteworthy. In reality, that statement isn’t true. I have a great family and a wonderful life. That’s certainly worth writing about. A good autobiography should describe something epic that people would actively seek out. Of course, that’s never stopped other non-famous people from writing an autobiography.
There is another option for an autobiography. I could embellish my life’s experiences. However, I prefer not to show off, brag, augment or lie about what I have done. To me, that is how a person should behave. However, I understand the other people’s personality craves attention and they live for showing off.
Perhaps another fear is that I will be recognized. I don’t want a random person to say, “Wow, you survived getting your truck stuck in the sand. Good job!” Side note, it would make it difficult to haggle for low prices at the swap meet.
My blogs do provide the world enough of a glimpse into my life. Readers can grasp my personality and piece together most of my story. I freely add insights from my own experiences. However, my few blog readers certainly appreciate that I do this under my own strict terms.
Someday, a character might get their car stuck and this embellished experience might read similar to actual events. If I were to look at that negative incident from the perspective as an unbiased reader, it is a minor bump on the road. In the book, 700 Sundays, the moment Billy Crystal went on stage for the first time is a much bigger event. More specifically, as an unbiased reader, a more interesting event.
As a reader, I enjoyed reading Billy Crystal‘s work and I got a lot out of it. For this blog, I don’t think I completely answered the central topic. However, I will confirm that an autobiography is not in my future. Or am I teasing you for shock value?
You’re the best -Bill
July 24 2019
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