A to Z April Challenge

During the month of April I will be doing a different spin on my memoir posts. It starts with a song. Each song will be followed by a brief essay that is evoked or inspired by that song. You might want to click on the YouTube link to hear the song as you read the piece I've written. Or you can listen to the song lyrics first and then read. Whichever way you choose, I mostly hope you'll read and leave a comment with your thoughts about my post. Thank you for visiting and please follow the blog if you are not doing so already.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Is an easy life an interesting life?

Tom's Restaurant, a diner at 112th Street and ... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

            Today is the last day to sign up for the A to Z Challenge Reflections.  If you would like to tell us your thoughts about the April A to Z event you can sign up at the A to Z Blog.   I'm keeping posts on my blogs relatively short this week so I can focus on the many Reflections posts.

           Often a memoir deals with the life of a notable person of social, historical, or cultural significance.  When most people think of biography this is probably what they expect.   Many other memoirs deal with overcoming obstacles in life, recounting a rise to success, or coping with traumatic memories or events.   But what about the life that doesn't fit any of these descriptions.

             I often hear people say, "No one would want to hear about my boring life", but is that true?  Is any life so boring that it could not be possibly written in such a way to make it interesting?  The way I see it, it's not so much the content of the life but how well it is written.

            What do you think?   Would an exquisitely written memoir about a so-called boring life be something you would read?    Could you get into a serious version of a "Seinfeld Show" type of story?    Would a "dull" life story have to be funny to be entertaining?   Are there any interesting memoirs you have read about lives that might seem insignificant on the surface?



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21 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

That's a good question Lee.
I think what may be a boring memoir to you may not be boring to the person who wrote it .
I know mine may be pretty boring should I write them.

Yvonne.

Betty Alark said...

I think it is a matter of perception and where a person is on life's journey of learning.

Unless we are so self centered as to only have an interest in what interest "self" and what has commonality with "self" the life of all human beings has purpose and meaning; therefore all memoirs of a persons life are worth hearing about.

The focus has to be taken away from self to read the memoir be it boring or entertaining.

I guess the question to ask would be: are you reading it to get something out of it for yourself or are you reading it to learn something about the person.

I see it know differently than someone bypassing a long lengthy post because they aren't in the mood to take the time to read it; however, if the person really cares about what the person has to say verses their mood, they will take the time.


To say that a memoir is insignificant is to imply that the person is or was.

Sally said...

It's all relative. My husband has done so much more in his life than I have but that's not to say I am not an interesting person.

My mother has been married to the same man for 59 years - is that boring? She was also a war child and tells some wonderful stories of being an evacuee.

It's all relative. As the catch phrase says of one of the most popular radio shows in the UK 'an everyday story of country folk.'

Arthur Brill said...

Interesting question Lee. I think the truth it that all of our stories are interesting. No life is insignificant. No story of life is insignificant. I think that was part of the genius of Charles Kuralt and his "On the Road" series.

Every one of us faces challenges. We each encounter heights of joy and depths of despair. We all know others who are better off than we are, and worse off. We all have a story which we have never shared with anyone.

The arbitrary label of "significance" is tied in to the fad of pop culture. It brings to mind "celebrity". And we all know that today, being a "celebrity" doesn't make you any more significant than anyone else.

One of the joys of the A to Z has been peeking into the graciously opened windows of others. We all have stories. And they are all significant.

Shelly said...

I'm not so sure I'd want to re-live some of my life through my writing about it.

Lynn Proctor said...

i do enjoy hearing about lots of different peoples experiences and lives---i can get into the simplest stories sometimes---ones where you don't have to think too much, you are just listening to someone telling you about their life--kinda like a friend

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

>>...I often hear people say, "No one would want to hear about my boring life", but is that true?

Yes.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee .. life can be 'easy' - yet if you're imaginative and creative your story could be vibrant .. so all life is interesting ..

Look at the sitcoms .. all depends on the presentation ...

Cheers Hilary

Arlee Bird said...

Yvonne -- My point is though you may think your own life boring perhaps it is not quite as boring as you believe it to be.

Betty-- That is my point too. I have a curiosity about all lives not only from the standpoint of what I can learn about them, but also how I can apply those life experiences to my own life.

Sally -- Every life is different and we should be interested due to that fact.

Arthur -- I would agree with what you say. The life-experience reality television shows like that of Charles Kuralt are fascinating to me because they are not hyped up versions of what press agents want us to believe about somebody, but the stories of people as they are. Those are the best stories of all.

Shelly -- Sometimes writing about ones difficulties can be therapeutic for oneself and educational for others.

Lynn -- I'm with you on that. Sometimes just the ordinary lives are more enjoyable to hear about because we can relate better to them.

StMc -- You're right--there are exceptions. Seriously though, I have enjoyed when you've related your life stories. I think you would write a great memoir because you know how to relate things beyond just what happened to connecting them to a larger story of the world.

Hilary -- This is precisely what I was thinking of. Presentation is everything. I think an immensely interesting life could be a boring read if written poorly.

Lee

thea said...

I think it depends on how it is written. A good writer can make the "boring" seem interesting and significant. The opposite is true as well, a poorly written memoir would be dull, no matter how interesting the person is/was.
As a side not, I don't know anyone whose life is easy. Life is just plain hard.

Jo said...

I subscribe to the belief that everyone has a story to tell. Not everyone can TELL it well... but we've all had amazing experiences. Moments of beauty and heartache and love and joy and grief... And those stories are worth telling.

Jo
In Which We Start Anew

Francene Stanley said...

I find anyone's thoughts on how thay handle life interesting. I came across one man who's medication for bipolar made him dizzy and disoriented enough to cease his blogs. I hope my understanding words helped him through his time of stress.

Dee said...

Dear Arlee, . . . my thoughts on memoirs are that every life is unique and that when people write they are seeking the meaning of their lives. That, too, is unique.

So it's the writing that makes one memoir stand out over another.

And writing takes, as we all know, a lot of writing of drafts and more drafts and rewrite and revision and rethought. But when we finish and others read the book and it speaks to them, oh the joy. Peace.

Arlee Bird said...

Thea -- That's exactly how I see it. And you're right that every life has it's tough times, but some lives are much easier than others. I look at my own life to realize that my troubles are minuscule compared to those of others.

Jo -- That's why some people have ghostwriters. Making things interesting is a talent that is sometimes a mystery.

Francene -- It's good to have support when one has problems making it on ones own. I'm sure you made some difference in that man's life.

Dee -- I agree that the writing of the memoir helps to explain things to ourselves as well as revealing something of ourselves to others. A life story can be told in many ways and each reader puts that life story into perspective with their own life story. One story can be many stories.

Lee

Patricia Stoltey said...

A boring life. Interesting concept. I suspect a life would look boring only because the storyteller didn't tell the whole story. :D

Susan Kane said...

Dang it! I meant to get my name on the list, but last week was a lost week for me (migraine hell).

Oh, well! I will enjoy finding out what others have to say.

Arlee Bird said...

Patricia -- I'm with you on that. A story is as interesting as it's telling.

Susan-- You can always add your link to the Post A to Z Road Trip at the A to Z page. If you haven't already.

Lee

Tyrean Martinson said...

Memoirs can be beautiful, moving and thought-provoking even if there isn't drama, action or suspense.

theartistrycollective said...

I also find the lives of others fascinating, so it would not be boring to me. It all depends on how the stories are expressed. Have you read A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel? It is well-written, funny, but might be seen as dull on the surface.

Ana

Arlee Bird said...

Tyrean -- This is so true

Ana-- Have not read those memoirs, but I agree that it's in the writing and not the life. A creative imaginative mind can make anything seem interesting if the writing is right.

Lee

Sunni said...

This is a thought provoking question. I think everyone's life is interesting, even if they don't think so. As already stated, all of our lives are different and we all have different experiences to share. It all depends on how the story is written and if it keeps the reader engaged.

We can always learn things from each other.

Sunni