Someone wrote to me recently, concerned because her (almost) real-time memoir blog, about her experience of a friend's cancer, is starting to cause issues in their friendship.
She sent me a link, and I read through all of it.
Her blog is really well written.
And what she is doing is tricky as fuck.
I have a memoirist friend who does not publish in public what she is feeling until at least three months have passed. For her, this gives enough time to be relatively sure of how she feels after her initial reactions have settled down. We all have to make our policies.
The author of the blog who contacted me chose as much anonymity as she could, and still, it's getting tricky. She wants to be of benefit to the world, and really it is. It will be.
The question she is asking is: At What Price?
Here's the book I recommended to her, a collection of essays by Patricia Hampl. Thoughtful but direct, Hampl's essay in particular about writing about her mother hits the spot.
It is, as I told the person who wrote me, a universal memoir issue, made more intense by the real-timeness of the situation. I deeply respect her efforts and support her choices, and can also see how messy it could get even with the best of intentions.
This writing life, especially memoir, is not for the faint at heart.