The Elusive 0.1 %
Have you ever considered writing a memoir, but were concerned your life wasn’t interesting enough? When I decided to pen a memoir, I quickly realized I am the least exciting person alive. In fact, I am probably less exciting than a few dead people, too.
Of course, I wouldn’t want you to take the fact I’m boring on faith. I have credentials. My teenage son will vouch for me. “Mom, you are the most boring person on the planet,” is something he thinks regularly. He doesn’t actually say it, because that would would require a teenager communicating with his mother. As anyone who has come into contact with a real live teenager realizes, that is not likely to happen.
Photo via VisualHunt.com
It turns out I’m in good company when it comes to not being interesting. According to an article on memoir writing by an authority no less than Reader’s Digest, 99.9 % of people lead boring lives. Doing the math, to write an impossible-to-put-down memoir you have to find and write about a friend or family member who belongs to the elusive .1% of interesting people. The problem with writing about the foibles and quirks of friends and family members, however, is that now you can’t sell your memoir to the only people who actually might buy it because you have probably offended them.
At one point I thought if I didn’t have anything fascinating to write about, perhaps I could share the wisdom I have gleaned over the ages. For example, I do have some advice for young women. If you are dating a young man who cooks, cleans and goes grocery shopping, you might think you have found a real treasure. Don’t be fooled! The act of marriage erases all domestic-activity synapses from most male brains (although to be fair, it does for some female ones, too). Sometimes the process takes weeks, sometimes it takes years, but eventually you can send a person of the male gender to the grocery store with a well-detailed list and still have him call you three times on the cell phone asking for help. Yes, it might be a ploy to have you give up and do it yourself next time, but it works, doesn’t it? By the way, writing down wisdom isn’t the way to go either, because now no guys will buy the book.
Of course, everyone expects their mother to support their writing. I can take care of that by writing about childhood experiences. My paternal grandmother raised three boys on a farm. She did farm chores every day, raised chickens, gardened and still managed to cook three meals a day from scratch and do all the dishes without complaint. I don’t remember ever seeing her sitting down, come to think of it. My mom, in direct contrast, never did dishes unless there was not a single object that could be used to carry food left in the house, or unless there was a serious threat of avalanche, whichever came first. My sister and I soon figured out if we were going to avoid food poisoning or having the health department close us down, we needed to pick up the slack. Sorry mom.
The good news from all this deliberation is if I ever do finish a memoir, I now have a plan. It is obvious I will need to sell enough copies somehow so I can buy some new friends and family members.