On the Fictitious Nature of Memoirs, and why I’m currently writing one

Are your memories real enough to qualify as nonfiction? Probably not.

Lost in the Funhouse

by
Daulton Dickey.

Let’s get the point out of the way first, then expand on it: memoirs are works of fiction. Specifically, memoirs as artifacts of “truth” or “reality” are neither true nor real. They are constructions founded in subjectivity and the malleability of human memories; and as products of the written word, they are constructed using techniques similar, if not identical, to works of fiction.

At first glance, memoirs seem to hold a place separate from fiction and non-fiction. Memoirs appear to some as the vehicles through which truth, in some sense objective, travels.

Memoirs are strictly subjective, incapable of anything approaching objectivity.

How can I make such an assertion? Without giving a dissertation, I’ll sum up some findings of modern cognitive science: our experiences of everything are products of our brains; our sense of self are products of our brains; what we experience and how we experience it…

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