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The Memoirist's Dilemma

March 3, 2009

It's one thing to reveal our own lives and feelings, yet another to do the same for our loved ones. In publishing Swimming Up the Sun, I've encountered hard feelings from close quarters. Unknowingly, I "outed" my people. I thought I'd prepared folks: changing names and occupations, giving them the manuscript to preview before publication, being open about my intentions. No difference. Parts of my family - people I really love - are angry and have sent me to the doghouse, where it's quiet. And chilly. Of course, being rejected is an adopted person's nightmare. But when I mull the alternatives, what should I have done? Remained silent? Written a novel or a play? There's nothing wrong with fiction, but nothing wrong with truth either, fairly told. Meantime, I send blessings to all and hope time will heal the wounds of commission.

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