Telling the truth is not easy
How much of what happened do you have to tell in order to tell the truth? At what point does withholding the truth become a lie? For instance, in all her famous diaries, as Anais Nin celebrated the freedoms of her life as an artist, she never once mentioned that she was bankrolled by a husband. True, she could not mention his name or details of his life because he had refused her legal permission to do so in print. But wouldn’t the truth have been better served if she had mentioned the working husband who paid her bills and made her artistic life free of financial constraints possible? In that sense, her diaries have always seemed to me to contain a fundamental lie and avoided telling the truth. Nin clearly wanted her readers to believe that she lived independently as a woman and a writer. The fact of her husband’s support makes it evident that the self-sufficient persona she projected was wishful thinking.How much truth to tell is always a subjective decision that can be made only in the context of the writer’s life and family. The following are considerations to keep in mind as you decide how to solve telling the truth.
We have helped many people whose lives demanded to be recorded but who themselves were not writers to create interesting and well-written memoirs.
We listen to you speak your story. We ask you a multitude of questions. Then we get to work writing. We come back to you with text and you make lots of corrective comments and we ask you a whole lot of new questions. Then, we go back to writing again.
Over time, your story develops into a memoir—one that you have shaped at every stage of the writing process.
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