But Some of My Best Friends Are Novelists
By Judith Sara Gelt, Memoirist
Novelists don’t need to wait for people to die.
Novelists don’t have to use their families’ real names.
Agents don’t wear a cheesy smile and declare that a novelist’s true-life narrative “cannot be differentiated from others in the market.”
By creating names, places, people and events (and, well, whatever they want), novelists build a bulwark of invention to keep their agonizing, lived experiences at bay while concealing them in their fictions.
Novelists don’t create in a genre tagged with terms like “naval gazing” or paired with adjectives like misery as in misery memoir.
Agents don’t shake their heads and explain that novelists’ life stories don’t have enough of a “hook.”
Novelists don’t workshop their manuscripts in mixed-genre groups only to be neglected—
“I couldn’t really write my opinions or leave comments. I just wasn’t comfortable. After all, yours is so personal.”
When someone asks, “Come on, did that really happen?” Novelists answer, “Of course not.” (Whether it did or not.)
When novelists compose outrageous fictitious scenes, readers don’t flinch. When a memoirist records an outrageous real-life scene, readers complain—
“No way this happened!” “I don’t believe it.”
Novelists don’t confront questions like—
“What is a memoir, again? Okay, and who wrote it? But, who is it about? Shit, you must have had a really amazing life!”
After their books are published, novelists aren’t in jeopardy of family and friends ostracizing them or of being disowned. They don’t witness their families and friends sob and dodge others when their lives are exposed.
Okeydokey, novelists, bring it on!