Category Archives: Memoir

Farrah’s Story

I just heard that Part 2 of Farrah’s Story is in the works.

For those who didn’t watch the 2-hour documentary on NBC last Sunday night, it chronicled Farrah Fawcett’s two-year battle with cancer. She said that the purpose of filming and screening her horrendously painful treatments was to educate, but what did we learn?

Not much. We learned that Farrah is a fighter, to an astonishing degree.  The cringe factor in her treatments was extreme.

But we didn’t learn much else. We only learned the type of cancer almost as an aside (squamous cell carcinoma). We didn’t learn anything about squamous, how it grows or spreads. We didn’t learn how she discovered this tumor. We didn’t learn anything about her treatment options or why she chose the ones she did. Instead, we learned about her iconic hair, and how the doctors tried to perserve it. Good grief.

So, Ryan, if you’re not out to exploit the pain and suffering of the woman you love, use this platform to do some serious education. We all know that chemo makes people puke. That’s not the type of learning we’re after. We want to know the medical stuff of treatment. We want to know what trials are being done. There’s not a one of us who hasn’t been personally affected by cancer, and we’re after answers. Show us her scans. Have a doctor explain them. Show us alternative treatments and experimental treatments and how they work, and why they didn’t.

We all know and love Farrah, but her story has so much more potential to save lives and educate people than what we endured by watching her incredible suffering on Sunday night.

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Filed under Cancer, Dying, Honesty, Memoir, Spirituality

Writing a Memoir

I was just asked–again–if I would some day write my memoirs.

First of all, no. Second of all, why? Third of all, who would read it?

There’s no question that I’ve lived an interesting life so far, but big deal. Don’t we all? From some perspective, every person on this planet has led an amazing life, overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some are just more public than others. Some are grander and make better press. Mine is small potatoes.

And yet I encourage people to write their memoirs, if only to put their experience on paper for their own expression or for successive generations. I wish my grandparents had written theirs. Or their grandparents. 

I believe that everyone who is moved to write the story of their life should do exactly that.

I could write my story, I suppose, but I am prone to exaggeration. I am first and foremost a fiction writer, and stretching the truth seems logical and legal whenever I’m sitting at the keyboard (or schmoozing at any kind of a social gathering). I’m working on that.

I believe that writers are the chroniclers of our times and the keepers of our literature, and we would be bereft indeed if nobody wrote their memoirs.

I guess I consider my story to be embedded in the other things I write.

This blog, for instance.

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Filed under Memoir, Writing