Nobody Loves You, Nobody Cares:
Why Your Unpublished Memoir Should Stay That Way
by Paullette Gaudet
I don’t want to read your memoir. I’ve been alive longer than you, and seriously doubt your book can tell me anything I did not already learn long ago. Believe me—I wish this was not true.
You want to enthrall me with outrageous, protectively name-changed characters, the likes of whom you are sure I’ll embrace? Well—don’t be so sure. Your childhood was unimaginably terrible? My condolences. Deliriously happy? Mazel tov! Kind of…average? (Yawn) I’m sorry—are we still talking about this?
Let me guess: your parents were mythologically good or bad creatures until the point (between ages 10-15) you realized they were simply flawed human beings who had to keep you alive or risk prosecution. As an enterprise, losing your virginity was both a lot more difficult and much less significant than you’d imagined. Like—much less significant. Like—you’re STILL disappointed, but that’s a whole other memoir.
The Real World came knocking after high school, and was either a lot better or worse than your home life. You discovered that money—that dusty hooved beast you’d assumed your parents corralled in large, indefatigable numbers—was actually closer to wet, greased salmon in how quickly it could slip through your fingers. A few forks in the road actually stabbed you: college took ten years instead of four; you provided for your family or skipped town; you found the wrong drugs or the right ones for whatever your soul couldn’t balance on its own.
You backpacked through Asia.
You took menial jobs as a lark (thinking you’d never stay more than a month), or took menial jobs as a career (getting laid off once a year). You were either fired or promoted to management, whichever was less convenient. You Scotch-taped a postcard of a palm-fronded beach to the inside of your locker.
You met The One, or found The Job, or answered The Calling. In most cases, you still struggled to pay The Bills.
You decided you wanted a family, or found yourself ambivalently pregnant. You almost won Lotto, or stayed one step from bankruptcy. An old lover returned, to either save or destroy you.
A parent or grandparent died.
You woke up and decided It Was Time To Change. You quit smoking or drinking. You went back to school. You got a divorce. You trained for a marathon or actually battled cancer, receiving a free t-shirt. You visited a psychic. You bought a vibrator.
You decided to write a memoir.
Did I miss anything? The pain of separating from your parents, the heartbreak of lost love, the shock of betrayal from close friends later in life? Did you have a substance abuse problem? Did you love a dog or cat to a ridiculous, soul-obliterating degree?
Yeah. Me, too.
So I don’t need to read your fucking memoir.
Paullette Gaudet is a writer and licensed barber in Seattle who is working on a memoir.