Judith Barrington in her classic book Writing the Memoir writes, “Do not make the mistake of thinking it is easier to tell the stories you have lived than to make up fictitious stories about imaginary people.”
From my experience, I would add that going through the agonies and ecstasies of what I have lived prepares my fiction. It adds a light and darkness to my imagination that I didn’t see before. This hasn’t yet developed into a story with a beginning and an end, but even with truth I am only just beginning.
Telling the stories I have lived is more difficult because I take them personally. Almost laughable, of course I would.
I think Barrington said what she said for other reasons. Structure, for example. As I write my story, I am seeking balance between humorous and tragic.
I find I am a believer in purpose. Naively or not, I think all of us are here for a reason. We are no more an accident than is the creation of the world.
Not new ground, others believe this too, but then what makes my story or yours unique? Once discovered can I also figure out the why of my existence? Did I meet up to expectations? Whose?
With years of listening to other’s stories, I expect to listen to mine and to learn from the telling. I am right now an audience of one.