INTERN has been plowing through the stack of submissions accrued over her mental health days, and has noticed a lot of memoirs coming in, particularly spiritual memoirs along the lines of "how I found Jesus/Kabbalah/meditation/Scientology and had a deep revelation that changed my life".
Some of these are clearly written by people who experienced or are currently experiencing psychosis or Messianic delusions (and my heart goes out to them), but most of them are written by people who have what psychiatrists call insight (self-awareness, consensus reality...). And to the latter group, INTERN has a few suggestions.
Memoirs are tricky, because they are ostensibly a genre in which you have full license to write about yourself—but if you actually just write about yourself (I I I I I)and presume people will be naturally interested in your doings, you have a really boring memoir.
Spiritual memoirs are even trickier, because you make the bold presumption that people will be interested in the doings of your temporal lobe.
This morning, INTERN has already read through 7 spiritual memoirs whose proposals sound kind of interesting and complex and far-reaching, but then the sample chapters look like a monkey went wild in an "I" factory. "I heard a voice from God, and then I got in my car and drove across 14 states to find the church I had seen in my vision, and when I found it, it was raining heavily and I fell to my knees and wept."
INTERN has said it before, and she'll say it again: you, per se, are not that interesting (neither, for that matter, am I). The fact that you reached enlightenment during a group mud massage class at a commune in San Francisco is not even, necessarily, that interesting. Beautiful, quirky, astonishing writing is interesting. Generous, thoughtful, curious, insightful explorations of a certain theme or relationship or time period are interesting. A series of events that happened to you that you think are interesting are not interesting.
If you can go through your memoir and delete every single reference to yourself, and still have it be a mighty good read, then you're onto something. Memoirs are about the world as much as they about you. At least, INTERN thinks so, although you shouldn't necessarily trust an intern.
In other news, INTERN was running a little late this morning so she jumped onto the elevator instead of taking the stairs. Who should be in the elevator but...Nemesis Intern. We made witty repartee, as you can see below:
Nemesis Intern: "Are your glasses on upside down?"
Have a nice day.