So many things have gone on in the last week or so that it is difficult to choose a few of the most notable: William F. Buckley Jr. and Gary Gygax passed on; one more fake memoir, the Oprah-Tolle webinar; the Beautiful Children give away and so much more.
William F. Buckley Jr. was an accomplished human being. A writer, television host, magazine founder and political pundit. He was embodiment of how to disagree without being disagreeable. He was a prolific writer and I am sad to say that we only have two of his titles in our store:
I love The Rake and recommend it highly. This is last book and epitomized his wit, style and use of language.
Gary Gygax was the creator of Dungeons and Dragons. I am not a gamer but have been surrounded by a lot of them in my life. You can't work with Techies all your life and not know a few. He is one of those people I have a special feeling for, probably with not good reason. No matter what else you can say, this man with a great imagination a sense of fun.
The Oprah-Tolle Webinar
Technology -- love it when it works and hate it when it doesn't. A lot of the Oprah=Tolle webinar attendees woke up Tuesday, hating it. Seems there was a little bandwidth problem.
A statement of apology was issued saying that they"recognize that interactive Internet broadcasting to a mass audience is still an emerging medium" and they "deeply regret that some of our audience did not have an optimal viewing experience and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Don't worry. . . you can still get a copy of the webinar for viewing on Oprah.com or for downloading as a podcast on Oprah.com or iTunes .
At first the fact that response was so great it killed the system surprised me. But the more I thought about it the more I realized that for most people watching or listening to the webinar is a FAR BETTER experience than actually having to read the book!
Every year we have at least one of them -- a made up memoir. A perfectly great piece of fiction passed off as the real deal. When this happens I start to ruminate on the difference between an autobiography and a memoir. . .
I have a long standing prejudice against autobiographies. Usually they are an opportunity for the author to rationalize the big events in their life until they come out settling scores and looking good. Or at least they figure they have offered a rational explanation for shoddy or indefensible behavior.
So what exactly is the difference between an autobiography and a memoir? Well, the official definition goes like this:
A memoir covers a shorter period of time or a more specific aspect of life. An autobiography has a wider range of both.
So how short a period of time qualifies? A childhood, teen years, the years of addiction, a long illness? Who knows.
And I also wonder about truth vs emotional truth. No one remembers things accurately, not really. We see the past through our own emotional filters that color everything.
Is there such a thing as a truthful memoir?