Judging by the current crop of memoirs by presidential candidates, retired athletes and disaster survivors, the genre is alive and well. New volumes of personal history seem to appear all the time. So commentator Caleb Daniloff recently decided to take another crack at his own memoir.
I m done, at last. I put the finishing touches on my memoir last night. What a project! — At times painful, at times joyous, but always cathartic — Definitely not an exercise for the faint of heart. It took me all evening to write.
Okay, let me explain: When I was in grad school in the mid- 90s, memoirs were hot, especially in writing workshops. My classmates were writing about childhoods on hippie communes, growing up gay in bayou country, about family abuse and medical trauma.
I poured out two hundred pages myself. But it only covered about seven years of my life. At that rate we re talking more than a thousand pages, real door-stopper material. And who has time for that? Writing it or reading it? We live in an age of cell-phone videos and cans of coffee that self-heat.
So I threw out the baby and the bathwater, and worked up something a little more fitting for our cultural attention span, a memoir you might read while waiting for your muffins to pop.
But before Oprah comes calling and I go all Hollywood, I wanted to share the story of my life with you – the radio listener. You ve always been supportive and I feel I can trust you with my heart, with my baby. So without further delay, here it is, in its entirety, my long-awaited memoir.
The alarm jarred me awake at dawn. And in my first moments of consciousness, I was a staggering angry fool.
But this phase was short-lived. By mid-morning, I’d grown into a relaxed fellow, eager to work, cracking jokes even.
Around noon though I hit a rough patch; I d become self-focused, a single-minded bear. I ate an entire pizza at my desk. This was a shameful period for me when I was all about satisfying base desires.
In the middle of the day, I wrote a wild sexy headline for a utility company brochure. This represented a time in my life when I clung stubbornly to my dreams.
By early evening, though, I was ready to let go, to stop yearning. I d turned into a solitary man resigned to driving the same stretch of state highway, listening to the same songs on the radio.
After a late dinner, I caught myself sighing. I grew nostalgic for eight AM when the day was full of promise. I stared out the window at the dwindling traffic on Route 7, wondering what had become of my fellow morning commuters. Some of them I knew I would never see again.
Then I retired upstairs, washed, and brushed my teeth. I turned on the television and lay in bed. As the images flashed before my eyes, I took stock – my past immaturities, the anger, the sadness, the joys.
I thought about how far I d come in such a short time. I shook my head at all the people I used to be. Then switched off the TV and fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.
Caleb Daniloff is a freelance writer.