38. Take My Love and Shove It…

08/15/2021

People let me down sometimes, even people I love. Ever happen to you? Mostly in things that don’t seem like a big thing to them, but they are to you? Me too. Not much we can do about it but try again. I do get weary of trying again though. I get angry at people, though they meant well, probably.

I’m sending this link with an email to a few good friends and some people who have been friends but have changed as I have changed. After all, the whole nexus of life is change. This is a web-link to the first book of my memoir trilogy, Victory Is My Name, Book One: The Burning-Barrel.

The response from earlier invitations has been a bit sad and disappointing. They start and then they stop. That may be a failing in my craft as a writer, or partly the reality that most people now don’t read. It’s just not a thing they do. Most people don’t talk either, they text or tweet. But the people in the out-there world who do read, talk, think and wonder about life are reading and writing more than ever.

A tweet is brief and momentary. A book is a solid object in space that may hang around for 100 years or more, if it has value in it. So it can be accessed more than once, and farther into time. It doesn’t vanish into the void of cyberspace. Even so, cyberspace is useful. I’m using it now to share these words with you.

The grandfather of all storybooks of course is the Bible. I’m not a concentrated student of it myself, and yet I have read some of it, and learned more of it from sources in my environment. I don’t expect to understand the amazing and inscrutable being, Jesus. That may be beyond my capacity to comprehend. But I have learned some very useful and effective life-tips from him. Like “turn the other cheek.” This actually baffles your enemies, and they usually back off feeling confused and guilty. Another one is double-edged: “Seek and you shall find.” This is true. If you look for the best in people and things, you will find it. If you look for the worst in people and things you will find it. What you/we hold most often in thought will play out in our physical material lives. “Be careful what you wish for” without realizing you are doing that with where your habitual thoughts are.

Here’s my book, Victory Is My Name, Part-1, The Burning-Barrel. You can read it or not. You can buy it of course, or download the e-book here, now, for free. I won’t know who did or didn’t read it, unless you choose to tell me. Your comments are welcome but not required and/or can be anonymous if you want.

So here’s my truth, my real self, the one you didn’t know. Here’s my love, take it or leave it.

 

To download or read on screen as a .PDF file
  http://w2w.victoriachames.com/beta/beta-V1w.pdf


36. Is Fiction Easier Than The Truth?

06/24/2021

I think fiction is easier than truth. Not the writing of it, that’s always hard for either. But when we’re choosing what to focus on when we write, I think it definitely takes more courage to tell the truth, and bare our scars to the world.

An idea occurred to me this week. I was thinking about my book’s genre, which is “autobiography and memoir.” I wondered out loud, Who reads memoirs? And What does the word “memoir” bring to mind? Maybe just an idea of the rambling memories of old ladies and old men.

Since my book is not selling like hotcakes (it’s self published and has no corporate marketing or advertising) I found myself wondering about this. Should I list my book as a novel? Might that get more of the kinds of readers who want to read what I write, as something contemporary, that matters to their lives, not some dusty volume of dates and times and stories with lace doilies on the sofa?

The memoir genre now is nothing like it was in our parents’ day. Ever since Angela’s Ashes and The Liars Club, This Boy’s Life, and A River Runs Through It, the literary form has completely redesigned itself. These writers and others have re-created the genre. It’s much more like a novel, or a film, with scenes and dialogues, multiple narratives, some just beneath the surface, and the most private and even raw emotional experiences rendered with shocking honesty.

My memoir definitely reads more like a novel than an autobiography. I suspect that the readers who are seeking this book won’t look for it under “memoir.” They will be looking for books that are fiercely alive with passion and compassion, tragic mistakes of youth and innocence, and survival of body and soul through truly dangerous challenges and adventures. Yes, Victory has got those things

And the next thought that came to me, absolutely stopped me in my tracks. It was a revelation. The only real difference between a great memoir and a great novel is that the memoir is factually real. It is true.

Many of us, these days, don’t really want too much truth. Life is complicated enough. The truth is scary and it doesn’t guarantee a happy ending, we need to escape for a while, or at least, take a break. Readers want adventures and experiences that will take them out of this daily life reality, and on a voyage to an unimaginably different life.

Tragically, most people under 50 right now are almost totally immersed in fantasy, second-hand social-media bits and random pieces instead of human conversations. Sci-fi, horror, blood and guts stories and movies and TV shows, and humanized comic book heroes. We want to see ourselves like that, in fantasy, so we can imagine ourselves as the hero, and not see our truth or our honest flaws. Memoirs don’t do that. Memoirs are not fantasy, not delusion, they don’t wear superhero suits, though they do sometimes inspire superhuman powers. Memoirs tell us about genuine life, why it matters, and they tell the truth.

Naturally enough, a lot of us don’t want too much truth. We get that on the news, along with so many wildly delusional lies coming at us from all sides, it’s more difficult than it has ever been to tell which is which, and the stress is overwhelming us.

But the truth, each other’s shared truth, is exactly what can save us from being swallowed up and lost in the noise and glittering bright colors coming at us from multi-media 24-7.  The truth is something else. It isn’t always pretty, and unfortunately it doesn’t always win. Only the bravest among us want to read the truth, even in another person’s life, and risk seeing it reflected in our own. Even if nobody else sees it, we will see it, and we can’t un-ring that bell. But the payoff is huge. The realistic possibility that we may be affirmed and uplifted by the connection with another soul through their experiences – on the page.

I believe there is truth in fiction too, because no one can write anything that is not already inside them before they pick up the pen. So what we write tells something about us whether we mean to or not. The biggest difference between a novel and a memoir turns out to be, basically, the memoir is the only genre that takes the risk of telling the truth on purpose.

_____________________________

Of the trilogy, Victory Is My Name, Book 1: The Burning Barrel is now available from Internet or brick and mortar bookshops. The e-book is available at your favorite web booksellers. Search by author, Victoria Chames. Publishers’s sampler: http://www.darkhorsepress.com/sampler-victory.html

If you are interested in being a Beta Reader for the first draft of Victory Is My Name, Book Two: The West Bank, now in progress, please contact me through email:  “Victory” at Darkhorse Press dot com. Thank you.


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