Monday, July 27, 2015


There's a reason why I so often blog about my past. Well, actually two reasons.

The second reason is simply that my past is far more interesting than my present. 

The first reason is that I'm timidly testing the waters for my memoir - - using brief rudimentary ideas for future expanded possibilities. 

I never reveal everything in my blog. I tend to present carefully rationed morsels and tidbits, which hopefully generate a craving for more.

I have a burning desire to tell everything about myself - and yet the idea of actually doing it scares the hell out of me. A blog is one thing. A publicly published memoir is quite another.

I've had a lot of experience with writing and like to think I have a fairly decent way with words. My first newspaper articles were published when I was sixteen. I have since published every conceivable type of fiction and non-fiction, spanning a wide variety of subjects and styles. No writing task has ever frightened me.....

......until I considered a memoir. Writing in depth about oneself isn't as easy as it initially seems. Publicly revealing things about real people (most of them still living) and real events is a great risk, for many reasons.

As if this wasn't daunting enough, my major concern is trying to capture and domesticate a wild beast - - how to make sense out of the incomprehensible.

My life has been an incredible journey - a conglomeration of contradictions, complications, and startling contrasts - -personal complexities that are so intricate even I can't figure them out. Despite projecting a facade of simplicity, I am multi-faceted. 

Which one of my many selves should I write about?

The incredibly sensitive and sentimental soul who loves opera, ballet, literature, art - - who cries when enraptured by beautiful music or by a poignant film....

.....the streetwise punk who projected a facade of toughness and cold indifference, who drank to excess, used drugs, who never backed down from a confrontation, who slashed a mugger with his switchblade knife.....

....the consummate romantic who desperately yearned for true love, who passionately desired absolute commitment and monogamy....

.....the insatiable sex slut who haunted midnight alleys and bars for five-minute quickies and one-night stands....who inevitably balked at the countless opportunities he had for true love...

.....the professional pianist and published writer who received praise and laurels and projected an air of public confidence....

.....the pathetically insecure and self-loathing nonentity, whose acute sense of worthlessness inspired attempts at suicide and who relentlessly embarked on a quest for self-destruction.....

Should I write about my childhood and early years in Southern California....all of the fantastic times and incredibly good moments that I truly cherish? 

Or should I only concentrate on the wild and tawdry Hollywood years? 

Should I incorporate humor?
I do have a reasonably good sense of humor, but much of my life was nothing to laugh at.

It annoys me when I read a review of a memoir that says "It was so funny! I laughed all the way through it!"

Well, if you laughed all the way through it you must be a frickin' jackass. Or the author must be Henny Youngman.

I'm not Chuckles the Clown. I have no intention of making you wet yourself with unmitigated glee.

Should I delve into the unspeakable nightmare of my father's maniacal violence and constant abuse, that tainted any semblance of normalcy and resulted in my complete mental and physical collapse by the age of eighteen?

Should I write about the true, pure, once-in-a-lifetime love that I finally found - - which  ended in tragedy and an untimely death?

My life has been a great puzzle that can't easily be pieced together.

A memoir should have a distinct purpose, an inspiring story, a satisfying resolution, something of absolute substance. I can offer none of that.

All I can offer is a prejudiced rendering of my own existence - a unique and extraordinary life, inhabited by an ordinary human being.

Have I learned anything from my personal experiences? 

I've learned this:

Life is an unfair bitch, which will relentlessly kick your ass when you least expect it and least deserve it.

Nothing is what it initially seems to be.

The people with the biggest egos have the least substance.

Goodness, honesty, and humility will get you absolutely nowhere.

Self-professed saints are the biggest sinners.

Never underestimate your own value. There are plenty of other people who are more than eager to do it for you.

Seize the moment and play it for all it's worth. You'll never have a second chance.

Anyone who tells you that "Life is what you make it" or "You have control over your life" is full of shit.

Life is one long series of struggles, obstacles, disappointments, unfairness, heartbreak, and setbacks - - and then we die. 
We have control over nothing.

Am I a pessimist?
Yes, most of the time.

Is my life worthy of being recounted in a memoir?
I'll reluctantly say yes. 

Heck, I'm definitely the most interesting, colorful, unique, and intriguing person I know.
And I'm qualified to write about it.


  1. Get busy and write it. You have the time up there in them there hills, don't you? You don't have any great responsibility to keep you from it, do you? You know the story, you have the talent. Go!

  2. Should you? Yes, yes, and hell yes!
    "A conglomeration of contradictions, complications, and startling contrasts ....." beautifully painful. I only wonder if, once unraveled, your memories might pale.
    Except for your once-in-a-lifetime love.
    Personally, I'd love to read more, provided you're willing to share.

  3. The ten propositions you posted in boldface reminded me of Martin Luther's 95 Theses, which he nailed to the church door and of which devoted his energies and intellect in defense. My favorite Luther quote --"When I fart In Wittenberg, they smell it in Rome"-- signaled the Reformation. You have the skills, the incentive, experience and audience receptive to reason and resolution. Go thou, think of Luther and do likewise.

  4. I think that you pretty much answered your own question Jon. You are of course all of those things and it's the sum of the wide ranging and often juxtaposed angles to your being which makes you "you". I'd pay for it...

  5. They say, whoever they is? That you should write about what you know. There are a handful of bestsellers in the mix, which is your life. Pick one and go from there. Good Luck.

  6. Once again an earlier comment of mine disappears...
    Whatever you feel most compelled to reveal should be what you write about. I assume you will have to change names and places to protect the guilty and avoid legal hassles.
    Speaking of pessimism, my experience has been that your once-in-a-lifetime love would eventually have succumbed to the vagaries of time and perhaps tarnish in a long-term relationship. Sometimes memories are sweeter. Sorry, Debbie Downer.

    1. Actually it was an off & on eight year relationship that was thwarted only by a certain person who was intent on destroying us. We were planning a future together when the tragedy of an accident occurred. There's a lot to this story.

  7. ALL OF IT! every sordid, tiny, salacious detail!

  8. Yes, from reading your blog I can see everything you say is true. you're also right I think that a memoir needs a theme. But you listed a number of themes. The question is how easy it is to find the bravery to choose just ONE. It's such a shame to have to leave things out!

  9. It wouldn't be easy to choose one theme - - but perhaps (PERHAPS) I could incorporate more than one.....??


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